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And From There You Shall Seek is Rabbi Soloveitchik s fullest and most elaborate examination of religious consciousness and the dynamics of religious experience. Its presentation of the challenging interplay between cultural creativity, religious practice, and spiritual quest is sure to enrich the contemporary reader.
Drawing its title from Deuteronomy 4:29 And from there you shall seek the Lord your God, and you shall find Him if you search for Him with all of your heart and all of your soul and framed by the evocative metaphors of the Song of Songs, the essay charts the individual s search for God, a quest which culminates in the stage of devekut, cleaving to Him.
The human being initially seeks God by examining the natural and spiritual worlds. But this search fails; hence God must reveal Himself and express His will. Rabbi Soloveitchik explicates the contrast between these two different modes of experiencing the divine: the natural consciousness, marked by freedom and creativity, and the revelational consciousness, marked by compulsion and discipline. The remainder of the work elaborates on this dialectic, exploring such themes as the imitation of God, devekut, mercy and justice, trust and fear, love and awe, the rule of intellect, elevation of the body, the perpetuity of God s word, and creation and revelation.
And From There You Shall Seek is a translation of Rabbi Soloveitchik's classic essay, U-Vikkashtem mi-Sham. Drafted in the 1940 s as a companion to his earlier treatise Halakhic Man, this powerful and wide-ranging work was published in Hebrew only in 1978.
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Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1903-1993) was not only one of the outstanding talmudists of the twentieth century, but also one of its most creative and seminal Jewish thinkers. Drawing from a vast reservoir of Jewish and general knowledge, the Rav, as he is widely known, brought Jewish thought and law to bear on the interpretation and assessment of the modern experience. For over four decades, Rabbi Soloveitchik commuted weekly from his home in Brookline, Massachusetts to New York City, where he gave the senior shiur (class in Talmud) at Yeshiva University s affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), where he taught and inspired generations of students, among them many of the future leaders of the Orthodox and broader Jewish community. By his extensive personal teaching and influence, he contributed vitally to the dynamic resurgence of Orthodox Judaism in America.From Publishers Weekly:
Published in Hebrew more than 30 years ago by one of the previous century's most exceptional and revered Jewish thinkers, the long-awaited English translation of this brilliant philosophical essay on the nature of the relationship between man and God is an eloquent and intelligent effort. With an instructive introduction by scholars David Shatz and Reuven Ziegler, the translation remains loyal to the rabbi-author's melodious and meticulous style and makes this important work accessible to the English-speaking world. The essay draws upon the passionate imagery in the Song of Songs in which two lovers, long understood by Jewish commentators to refer to the love between God and the Jewish people, yearn and search for one another only to be thwarted at the last possible moment from their ultimate reunion by a curious withdrawal. Soloveitchik analyzes with genius this contradictory response in terms of the religious and philosophical nature of love and awe, mercy and justice, prophecy and related emotions and states of being. This cogent and rarified essay, like Soloveitchik's earlier work Halakhic Man, is certain to become indispensable to devotees and scholars of the man known to many as the Rav. (Apr.)
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