This past Shabbos the Valley Village Jewish community was treated to a wonderful presentation by community member Alex Stzuden on Rav Joseph Soloveitchik. This is part of the “Rabi Mori: My Rabbi, My Teacher” series at Shaarey Zedek and the brain child of our V.P. of Education, Luisa Latham. This was the first one I was able to attend, but have heard all the presentations have been well received. The series is a weekly shiur on Shabbos afternoon focused on great Rabbinic leaders given by a community member who has a personal connection with the particular Rabbi and expertise. This Shabbos, Alex did a fantastic job and gave over a very meaningful and understandable synopsis of the Rav’s life, Halachic and Hashkafic views and the Rav’s great influence on Orthodox Jewry.
At the end of his presentation he was asked a few questions, one of which was a recommendation for where to start if interested in learning the Rav’s teachings. While many are familiar with the Rav’s seminal works like The Lonely Man of Faith and Halakhic Man, Alex, while strongly recommending these, rightfully suggested starting with the Rav’s articles as they tend to be more accessible. He also mentioned a recent TED talk by New York Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks who used the thesis of Lonely Man of Faith as his core source, which I think is also a perfect place to start. It is five minutes, powerful and not only shows the depth of the Rav’s teachings, but the reach it continues to have in the world we live in. Enjoy it and below the video are articles Alex suggested to read, his books and a couple of resources I have enjoyed.
Here are three articles published in Tradition, that Alex suggested as a good place to start.
Another article I have enjoyed on education is by Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky titled “The Role of Teacher and Student in Jewish Education According to Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.”
Here are likely the two most famous works by the Rav:
- The Lonely Man of Faith which can be purchased at amazon and is also available for free at the Tradition website.
- Halakhic Man available at amazon and other online bookstores.
I also recommend the Chumash Mesoras Harav which is a Chumash with commentary based on the Rav’s teachings. It gleans from the Rav’s various works so it is also a wonderful primer for those new to the Rav as well. It is currently only available for Bereishis.
You can find a more comprehensive list of the Rav’s writing at TheRav.net