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The Lonely Man of Faith Kindle Edition

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Length: 128 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fusing the existential acuity of Kierkegaard with the wisdom of the Old Testament, Boston Orthodox rabbi Soloveitchik has produced a timeless spiritual guide for men and women of all religions. In this soaring, eloquent essay, first published in Tradition magazine in 1965, "The Rav," as he is known to his followers worldwide, investigates the essential aloneness of the person of faith, whom he deems a misfit in our narcissistic, technologically oriented, utilitarian society. Using the story of Adam and Eve as a springboard, Soloveitchik explains prayer as "the harbinger of moral reformation" and probes the despair and exasperation of individuals who seek to redeem existence through direct knowledge of a God who seems remote and unapproachable. Although the faithful may become members of a "convenantal community," their true home, he writes, is "the abode of loneliness" as they shuttle between the transcendent and the mundane. Sudden shafts of illumination confront the reader at every turn in this inspirational personal testament.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Boston-based Orthodox Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, perhaps the greatest living authority on Halakhah (Jewish law), offers some profound spiritual insights for persons of all creeds. Combining Kierkegaardian and Kantian philosophical insights with a unique exegesis of the Genesis creation stories, Soloveitchik provides guidance as to how the existential person of faith, essentially alone in a society beset by narcissism, self-seeking ends, and an empty modern technology, can find personal redemption in the living God of Biblical faith. This essay, originally published in the Orthodox Jewish journal Tradition in 1965, is an excellent introduction to the thought of this great thinker. Recommended for large religion collections.
- Robert A. Silver, Shaker Heights P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 444 KB
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Image; Reprint edition (July 1, 2009)
  • Publication Date: July 1, 2009
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002GKGBI2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,414 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 84 people found the following review helpful By smarmer on October 17, 1997
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Soloveitchik published only a few titles during his long life as the leading Orthodox rabbi of this century. This is the one new readers should start with. It is rather difficult, and for some a dictionary may be needed, but its rewards far surpass its difficulties. Soloveitchik's thesis is that there are two stories of creation in the Bible, not because there are two literary traditions, but because there are two sides to man. Majestic Adam sees God in the splendor of the universe, and shows reverence through science. Lonely Adam craves a personal relationship with God, which is glimpsed in fleeting moments. Soloveitchik has no use for cheap "spirituality." His is the real kind, which takes deep thought and a lot of work. His is also the kind which, once attained, lasts a lifetime.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The subject of a class titled "A Spiritual Journey" taught by our Rabbi, this small book has engendered the deapest spiritual discussions-yet on an intellectual level-which one can imagine. However, be prepared! If you expect to get the most out of this book, you will need a very comprehensive dictionary.
While any serious reader will probably find Soloveitchik's insights helpful, it has to be said that if you don't have a solid, working knowledge of the Hebrew language and its development, together with a thorough knowledge of the Jewish religious traditions, you will miss much. Therefore, study with a Rabbi, as well as with others, is highly recommended to extract the full benefits from this book.
But is it worth it? Absolutely! You will want to read this book over and over again, something which will be easy to do because every sentence of this small volume packs hours of thought provoking insight into its discussion of the two stories of The Creation.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Meir Ben David on November 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Whenever I read anything by Rabi Soloveitchik, he blows me away. The reader may find it benefitial to learn something about the ideas of covenant before engaging this book. It is also benefitial to learn the concept of revelation as understood in Judaism. Otherwise, a dictionary will do.

Among the gems in the essay are the following:

1) A very interesting interpretation of the two creation stories in the bible.
2) A Jewish notion of redemption. What does it mean to have a redeemed existence?
3) A Jewish concept of the original sin. I didn't even realize one existed. Find it among the pages of the book.
4) A wonderful analysis of human psychology that resulted from two polarities ordained by God revealed to us within the two creation stories.
5) An explanation of the loneliness of the man of faith.

This book is truly wonderful. I did notice one thing that seemed pretty poor (likely not the author's fault). The final mem and sameh seem to be interchanged in the Hebrew language. The author does write some stuff in Hebrew, but also translates it into English.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lewyn VINE VOICE on November 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
and not totally incomprehensible - don't let other reviewers' comments scare you off (though I do think if I reread this book in a few years when I know more, I would get more out of it). Solovetchik asserts that each of us has two halves- the "majestic" half that seeks to conquer the universe, and the half that seeks spirituality through contemplation. He further asserts that people of faith are "lonely" in two ways: (1) though they wish to focus on contemplation, they must also spend time in the material world to be completely fulfilled; (2) in our culture in particular, even religion tends to be oriented towards "majestic" considerations (that is, utilitarian goals) rather than passive contemplation of and obedience to our Creator.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Israel Drazin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1903-1993) was a highly respected rabbi and teacher and the mentor of over 2,000 rabbis. He had a PhD from the University of Berlin, wrote his doctoral dissertation on the philosopher Hermann Cohen, and was considered a leading authority on Jewish law. He was the chief rabbi of Boston and taught the senior class at Yeshiva University for four decades. His lectures were praised for their depth and breadth.

His The Lonely Man of Faith is a philosophical and religious classic that was first published in 1965. This revised edition translates Hebrew words, adds references, restores the original chapter division, and contains an introductory essay by Reuven Ziegler who explains the book.

Rabbi Soloveitchik interprets the Bible's Genesis 1 and 2 as teaching about two types of people, Adam I and Adam II. He uses the word "man," as in the book's title, but he is referring to men and women, Jew and non-Jew. Adam I symbolizes the individual who focuses outside himself. He studies the sciences and is creative; he seeks to improve the world, its people and environment. Adam II looks inwardly at his own personality. He wants to control himself. He is submissive to God and faith. He thinks that faith should be the directing force of his life. He believes that faith is accepting traditional ideas as the truth even though science, one's senses, and experiences may deny its truth. He yearns for an almost mystical intimate relationship with God. He feels incomplete and inadequate without God.

Rabbi Soloveitchik states that God wants people to combine the attributes of Adam I and II, practicality and religion. People should study science and work for technological progress, but they should also have faith and seek union with God.
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