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God's Favorite Prayers Paperback – July 14, 2011
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More About the Author
Professor Zahavy received a Distinguished Teaching Award when he was a professor at the University of Minnesota. He has rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University, and a Ph.D. from Brown University. He blogs at Talmud (tzvee.blogspot.com) and swims laps every day.
Top Customer Reviews
An ordained Orthodox Rabbi and the son of a Rabbi, Prof. Zahavy studied with many of the great lights of Modern Jewish Scholarship (both religious and secular), as well as with traditional Rabbis, and this breadth of experience is the basis for his unique personal insights.
The book is an outgrowth of a course he as given, most recently at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Jews, Zahavy says, recite, sing and meditate prayers that derive from six distinct archetypes. He labels those six personalities: the performer, the mystic, the scribe, the priest, the meditator and the celebrity, and he goes on to define his terms and to give examples.
A prolific writer, Prof. Zahavy has written many academic articles and books. His readable English translation of the Talmud Tractate Hullin (mostly dealing with slaughtering of Kosher animals) is available on his blog [...].
The book will be of value to anyone trying to understand Jewish liturgy and prayer in general.
That is where Tzvee Zahavy's insightful "God's Favorite Prayers" comes in. The book provides an understanding of Jewish prayer by attuning us to six voices through which prayer speaks. He calls these the mystic, the priest, the scribe, the performer, the mediator and the celebrity. Each personality has a different focus and concern. Every prayer is an expression of one or more of these personalities. The prayers reflect these different concerns, some of which may not always be in complete harmony with the others. The multiplicity of voices means that our prayer services are not at all like a well constructed classical symphony, with a unifying key, themes, harmonies and movements, but a "Woodstock Festival of Jews at prayer" where a number of rock bands play pieces in various styles and different keys. The result may not be completely harmonious, but it is glorious nonetheless.
You might expect that a book penned by an author with both academic and rabbinic credentials would be a tad dry, but that is not the case here. This is not a pedant's book. It is very readable. Anyone familiar with the Siddur will find it easy to follow. Readability is also increased by the anecdotes and generous amount of personal history that the author has interspersed in the book.
This book made me think about me and how I personally communicate with god.
Highly recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a critical review - even though I've not read the book. I know, that's unfair isn't it. However, this book doesn't just have the standard "No part of this book may be... Read morePublished 19 months ago by EvesDaughter
I really haven't finished reading this book. I will get to the book. What I have read it is goodPublished 21 months ago by Jackie Burk
The only pray God wants is one from your heart, that's the bottom line. Second I guess that I would have taken the boom more to heart if it didn't start with, no part of this book... Read morePublished on February 9, 2013 by Laura Bee
Found it a pleasure to read. Gained a lot of knowledge of things i thought i knew but rally did not.Published on June 28, 2012 by Ernest Wolf
After taking a class with Dr. Zahavy, I am glad to be able to review our material - and recommend it to others - in this conversational, efficient, and above all creative and... Read morePublished on October 23, 2011 by Jason Rubenstein
I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning from God's Favorite Prayers. Rabbi Zahavy shares his unique and fascinating perspective developed from years of study and immersion in... Read morePublished on October 2, 2011 by Cickowicz