OU Press Presents Rabbi Soloveitchik’s Teachings in New Books

01 Feb 2011


Few scholars command the devotion that Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (commonly called “the Rav”) enjoys. During his lifetime, the Rav taught continuously throughout the week, in multiple venues across multiple states. A ceaseless fount of Torah learning and wisdom, the Rav left for us a bounty of creativity, originality and genius ripe for publication and dissemination to an audience hungry for his teachings. OU Press | Jewish Educational Publications continues filling that role in three recently published books.

Rabbi Hershel Schachter’s Divrei HaRav, in Hebrew, is a collection of many of the Rav’s famous public addresses, recollections of the Rav’s distinctive practices and rulings, and the Rav’s insights into weekly Torah portions. Rabbi Schachter is a brilliant Talmudist, a leading halachic decisor and a highly respected rosh yeshiva and rosh kollel at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. A beloved student of the Rav, Rabbi Shachter has devoted great effort to disseminating his mentor’s Torah thought and making it more accessible. This third volume in his series of books on the Rav’s teachings offers readers entry into the world of the Rav’s thought, practice and learning.

Rabbi Menachem Genack’s Shiurei HaRav on prayer and keriat shema, also in Hebrew, is a treasure trove of the Rav’s analyses and explorations of the laws of prayer. Rabbi Genack, General Editor of OU Press and CEO of OU Kosher, summarizes the Rav’s Talmudic lectures on the topics of keriat shema, prayer, blessings and the Torah reading. Written in rabbinic Hebrew, the book takes students through lecture after lecture in classic “Brisker” style, dramatically capturing the give-and-take between apparently contradicting sources and then the Rav’s brilliant flashes of creativity that reconcile them. Each essay is an exhilarating journey toward greater understanding of the role of prayer in the religious life of the Jew.

Rabbi Avishai David’s Darosh Darash Yosef: Discourses of Rav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik on the Weekly Parashah, an English book jointly published by OU Press, Urim Publications and Yeshivat Torat Shraga, brings the Rav’s famous lectures on the weekly Torah reading to the general public. His legendary discourses were mesmerizing, combining soaring language with profound intellect. Both the narratives and the commandments of the Torah gained new meaning in the Rav’s able hands. Human psychology, religious philosophy, ethical ideals and halachic concepts emerge from the text of the Torah. Rabbi Avishai David, a longtime attendee of the Rav’s lectures and a noted scholar in his own right, has adapted these insights for the contemporary reader in a style that is sophisticated and literate, yet accessible to all.

These books are among the latest offering from OU Press, the publishing house of the Orthodox Union, that recently published Hilchot Tefilla by Rabbi David Brofsky and The Mind of the Mourner by Dr. Joel B. Wolowelsky. Past books by the Rav include the award-winning Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot, a complete guide to the Tisha B’av service with a commentary adapted from the Rav’s teachings; and The Seder Night: An Exalted Evening, a haggadah commentary distilled from the Rav’s writings and lectures. Important future books include the Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur, a new prayer book with a profound commentary based on the Rav’s teachings, accompanied by the eloquent translation of the prayers by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the popular Koren layout.

More information about these books is available at http://www.OUPress.org.

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