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Majesty and Humility: The Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (The Rabbi Soloveitchik Library) Hardcover – February 1, 2012
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"An invaluable resource ... a rich tapestry woven with myriad insights ... While the central focus is to guide the reader through the Rav's works in a clear and pedagogically astute fashion, a second, powerful thrust is to reveal connections, clarifications, and challenges from the Rav's teachings. That R. Ziegler carries out both these plans clearly and compellingly is a stunning achievement. ... for me, a kind of revelation. For offering such a luminous entry into the heart of the Rav's philosophy, we are all in R. Ziegler's debt." - Prof. Charles Raffel, Torah Umadda Journal 16
"We express deep and profound gratitude to Rabbi Ziegler. He has devoted many years to studying the works of the Rav and we are the beneficiaries of his wisdom and his efforts... He has done a masterful job in formulating the teachings and world-view of the Rav in a clear, organized, thoughtful and comprehensive way. Rabbi Ziegler's careful and sensitive analysis is extraordinarily insightful, highly compelling and exceptionally well-done." Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, Yeshiva University
''Rabbi Ziegler's Majesty and Humility constitutes a meaningful contribution to our corpus of Jewish religious thought... Readers familiar with both the Rav's persona and his writing will be favorably impressed by the sensitivity manifested in the book -- both that of its author and that of his subject.... Such a study must be judged by the quality of its content, by the incisiveness of its insight, by the depth of its probes, by its innovative clarity.... I trust that my vote of confidence in this opus is fully justified, as it is indeed deserving of high regard with respect to the foregoing criteria.'' --Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein, Rosh Ha-Yeshivah, Yeshivat Har Etzion
''This volume is an ideal entree into Rabbi Soloveitchik's thought but is even more than that. By skillfully drawing connections between various writings, by clarifying many challenging ideas and passages, and by integrating the Rav's life with his thought, Rabbi Ziegler presents fresh, penetrating perspectives and insights that will enlighten even seasoned readers. The author makes demanding philosophical works exciting and accessible. All who care about Jewish thought should read this outstanding work.'' --Professor David Shatz
About the Author
Reuven Ziegler is the director of research and archives for the Toras HoRav Foundation, which seeks to disseminate the works of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. He is also the founder and editor in chief of the Yeshivat Har Etzion’s Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash.
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But very often, I've found that my students trying to read the Rav's writings either give up, or, what is often much worse, go on systematically to misunderstand his articles and books, because of his extensive vocabulary and his references (and allusions) to such varied sources and influences.
Rav Ziegler's book, Majesty and Humility, is neither an intellectual biography in the normal sense of the word, nor is it simply a philosophical introduction to the Rav's outlook or writings. Majesty and Humility is, instead, a very beautiful combination of both genres. It gives you a blow by blow account of the majority of the Rav's published output (unfortunately glossing over, for good reason, the often impenetrable Halakhic Mind), informed by Rav Ziegler's unparalleled familiarity with the Rav's unpublished writings, which he has been heavily involved in editing and bringing into posthumous publication. Furthermore, this introduction to the works of the Rav, informed by Rav Ziegler's great knowledge of the man, tries also to track the subtle evolution, the influences, and the ways in which the Rav's life and the Rav's work, and the Rav's philosophy were related to one another.
The book is written in beautiful prose with astonishing clarity given the subtlety and difficulty of the primary sources; clarity of content and clarity of structure. From this point forth, I would never advise a lay reader, young or old, to broach any of Rav Soloveitchik's books without first using the relevant chapters of Majesty and Humility as something of an introduction. This is a book that will make the Rav accessible to all those who have struggled with his writings in the past, and to all those for whom the Rav's writings are a treasure still waiting to be discovered.
I couldn't recommend more heartily the purchase of this book.