OU Press Publishes Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur

04 Nov 2011


With an invitation to “Daven with the Rav,” OU Press |Jewish Educational Publications and Koren Publishers of Jerusalem today announced publication of the Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur. In this landmark event for the Jewish community, the teachings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the Rav, are now available to be an integral component of personal worship and synagogue services weekdays, Shabbat, and the festivals through use of this extraordinary compilation of tefillot (prayers) and commentary.

In a project overseen by OU Press General Editor Rabbi Menachem Genack and edited by Dr. Arnold Lustiger, the volume is certain to take its place as one of the classics of Jewish liturgy. The new Siddur is the third combined OU/Koren publication, as it joins the Koren Sacks Siddur and the Kinot Mesorat HaRav for Tisha B’Av as valuable additions to the synagogue world. Like the Sacks Siddur, the translation of the tefillot in the Mesorat HaRav Siddur was done by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom.

“We are delighted that the Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur has rolled off the presses and is available for purchase. We expect that many synagogues will make the volume available to their congregants and that many individuals will purchase it for themselves,” Rabbi Genack said.

In his introduction to the volume, which includes an exploration of major themes in the Rav’s views on prayer, Rabbi Genack wrote, “Prayer played a dominant role in the public lectures and shiurim of the Rav as he was ever-sensitive to the halachic expression of that primal human need to call out to God from the depths of one’s soul, from the very essence of one’s being.” Rabbi Genack was a dedicated student of the Rav and has been instrumental in making his teachings available to a new generation.

According to Rabbi Simon Posner, Executive Editor of OU Press as well as Literary Editor of the volume, “The Mesorat HaRav Siddur brings together for the first time in one volume the profound thought of the Rav on the Siddur. The extensive commentary on the tefillot, which is culled from the Rav’s writings, public lectures, shiurim and classes, will be welcomed enthusiastically by all who appreciate the Rav’s towering intellect and his unique approach – profound halachic analysis combined with the distillation of philosophical and theological concepts that emerge from the halacha and identification of the interplay between the intellectual and the emotional content of the Siddur. The Rav’s inimitable language and style are present throughout — intellectually scintillating, eloquent, and strikingly original.”

The monumental 1,304 page volume also reflects the unique Koren style, with its elegant and distinctive Hebrew typography; the prayers on the left page and the English translation on the right; and the lightweight but strong “Bible Paper,” with its parchment-like color.

The Siddur also includes introductory essays by Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, Rabbi Solveitchik’s son-in-law and Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel and Rabbi Lord Sacks; an Editor’s Foreword by Dr. Lustiger; and a personal reminiscence of the Rav by Julius Berman, Chairman of the OU Press Commission, for whose family the prayer book was named “The Berman Family Edition.” Like Rabbi Genack, Mr. Berman was a student of The Rav and was profoundly influenced by him.

Rabbi Gil Student, as well as Rabbi Posner, also assisted in editing the volume.

A special section, “Hanhagot HaRav,” explains the Rav’s personal practices and customs in prayer. A further enhancement of the volume is the Reshimot, consisting of summaries of shiurim given by the Rav on various halachic aspects of the tefillot and related themes.

The Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur is a preeminent addition to the vast depository of Jewish liturgy, and should find a well-earned place serving entire congregations and individuals as well.

The Siddur is available at www.oupress.org and authorized Koren booksellers everywhere.

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