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The Soul of Life: The Complete Neffesh Ha-chayyim Paperback – September 20, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 652 pages
  • Publisher: New Davar Publications (September 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061569991X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615699912
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
The Soul of Life by Rabbi Chayyim of Volozhin is a new translation of Nefesh HaChayim, translated by Rabbi Eliezer Lippa Moskowitz.

As the translator says in the introduction, Rabbi Chayyim's work focuses on man's nature and purpose, how prayer is an expression of that nature and purpose, how - while the nature of the Infinite Creator is essentially unknowable, His manifestation in creation carriers with it a mandate for mankind, and how involvement with Torah is the fulfillment of man's purpose and the vehicle of his connection with G-d.

It is the Vilna Gaon's response to Chabad's Tanya, and filled with kabbalistic and mystical insights that give a theological foundation to Judaism.

This translation is a completely new work that differs significantly from previous translations. First it includes and translates ALL portions of Nefesh HaChayim, specifically including the kabbalistic portions.

The second, the translator annotates confusing words and concepts, providing an explanation of difficult concepts and obscure words and/or sourcing ideas, concept and words themselves. He does an excellent job explaining both concepts AND pointing to sources - not as in saying "book/sefer such and such, chapter such and such", rather giving a source passage and context.

The translation is a modern English translation, presenting Hebrew words (where used) transliterated as phonetic English - a technique I strongly prefer.

The book is a soft-back paperback of 644 pages, and includes a full Hebrew copy of Nefesh HaChayim in the back.

The translator did a wonderful job, and I highly recommend it for those looking for Jewish philosophy, theology and approaches to G-d, man's purpose and the soul.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. B. Barham on December 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read the version by Finkel and was frustrated by how often the translator refrained from including material. Kind of upset me to be denied so much content. This books has FAR more material that delves deeper into the concepts discussed. Because of that, and despite the excellence of the other publication, I'd recommend this one due to the vast amount of additional material it includes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Berger on May 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
It's rare to find a translation precise enough for philosophical work that is this clear and readable. I cannot think of a more accessible guide to Orthodox Jewish Thought in the Lithuanian tradition. HIGHLY recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Meir on January 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author's main goal was to create an accurate translation of a complex work of ethics and philosophy that would be easily understood. He has succeeded. No doubt the reader will be left with many questions, particularly with the kabbalistic aspects but each person will understand this work at his/her own level. To his credit, Rabbi Moskowitz does not attempt a deep analysis of the text. That is left for the reader.

Personally, I read each chapter as an introduction before reading the original Hebrew which gives me a different level of comprehension. Although the book contains a Hebrew copy of the work, I would recommend that any serious student reading the original text purchase a separate copy of Nefesh Hachaim with annotations as the mystical concepts cannot be easily understood on their face.

A previous reviewer notes that the work is the Gaon's response to Chabad's Tanya. Interestingly, the late Rebbe, Rabbi M.M. Schneerson writes that R. Chaim's opinion differs from that of the Gaon, at least in the matter of tzimtzum.

All in all a great work that accomplishes what it set out to achieve. Congratulations to the author.
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Format: Paperback
excellent translation just what I needed to learn in Elul
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