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    Reuven Ziegler

picture of Rabbi Reuven Ziegler  

Rabbi Reuven Ziegler is Director of Research and Archives of the Toras HoRav Foundation and has edited numerous volumes of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s writings. He is also a founder of Yeshivat Har Etzion’s Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash and serves as its Editor-in-Chief.
 His book, Majesty and Humility: The Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, was published in 2012.



 

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  • MeOtzar HoRav: Selected Writings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik # 06

    Festival of Freedom

    Joseph B. Soloveitchik

    Joel B. Wolowelsky and Reuven Ziegler

    Festival of Freedom, the sixth volume in the series MeOtzar HoRav, consists of ten essays on Passover and the Haggadah drawn from the treasure trove left by the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, widely known as "the Rav." For Rabbi Soloveitchik, the Passover Seder is not simply a formal ritual or ceremonial catechism. Rather, the Seder night is "endowed with a unique and fascinating quality, exalted in its holiness and shining with a dazzling beauty." It possesses profound experiential and intellectual dimensions, both of them woven into the fabric of Halakhic performance. Its central mitzvah, recounting the exodus, is extraordinarily multifaceted, entailing study and teaching, storytelling and symbolic performance, thanksgiving and praise.
    In these essays, the Rav explains how the resonances of the Seder extend far beyond the confines of one night. As he sets forth, the Seder teaches us about the Jewish approach to the meal, Torah study, peoplehood, and the nature of freedom. Yetzi'at Mitzrayim is not just the story of an event lying in the distant past. It is the doctrine of the Jewish people, the philosophy of our history.
    In exploring the various themes in this volume, the Rav explicates in new and creative ways nuances in the biblical and rabbinic texts associated with Passover. He presents a philosophical analysis of the nature of Jewish community and its religious experiences. In the process, he opens vistas not just on the Jewish people's past, but on its present and future.
    The editors of Festival of Freedom are Joel B. Wolowelsky, Dean of the Faculty at the Yeshivah of Flatbush and Associate Editor of the MeOtzar HoRav series; and Reuven Ziegler, Editor-in-Chief of the Virtual Beit Midrash at Yeshivat Har Etzion and Director of Research at the Toras HoRav Foundation.

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  • MeOtzar HoRav: Selected Writings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik # 03

    Out of the Whirlwind

    Joseph B. Soloveitchik

    David Shatz, Joel B. Wolowelsky and Reuven Ziegler

    1 Review(s)

    The topics of mourning and suffering are among the most salient in the writings of Rabbi Soloveitchik, both when he describes personal experiences and when he articulates his philosophy.

    The essays in this volume powerfully illustrate the Rav's peerless ability to derive a Jewish understanding of both God and the human condition from Biblical and Halakhic sources. The Rav explores such topics as the stages of mourning, the relationship between mourning practices and the mourner's inner experience, the contrasts between individual and communal mourning, the significance of suffering, and the importance of emotions in the Jewish world view.

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  • MeOtzar HoRav: Selected Writings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik # 08

    Days of Deliverance

    Joseph B. Soloveitchik

    Eli D. Clark, Joel B. Wolowelsky and Reuven Ziegler

    "The Megillah contains two stories: the story of human happiness and fulfillment, as well as the story of human misery and distress. The reading of the Megillah is a dialectical performance. We pray to the Almighty while we read the Megillah, because we are in distress; we thank God and relate His wonders while we read the Megillah, for we have found refuge in Him; He has saved us."

    ~ Excerpted from "The Duality of Purim" Days of Deliverance

    "Hanukkah is a holiday that has general human underpinnings; it is a holiday of political victories, a holiday of the smashing of political might. Matityahu and his sons had the strength and the courage to confront the Syrian-Greek legions, to liberate the city of Jerusalem and its Temple, and to re-establish an independent Jewish kingdom. This history of dramatic bravery appeals to all, Jew and non-Jew, especially when the revolutionaries compose a small group, unorganized and poorly armed, yet unafraid of declaring war on an enemy."

    ~ "The Everlasting Hanukkah," Days of Deliverance


    Purim and Hanukkah share a rabbinic origin, a festive character, and a generally informal nature. In the essays collected here, the eighth in the series MeOtzar HoRav: Selected Writings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, both holidays serve as subtext for Rabbi Soloveitchik's classic search for religious meaning in a seemingly cold and arbitrary universe. For him, Purim and Hanukkah stand at the nexus of faith and history, of human effort and divine intervention, of solemnity and joyous celebration.

    In the Purim essays, the Rav offers not only commentary and textual interpretation, but, primarily, a rich blend of religious existentialism and Jewish historiosophy. He transforms the verses of Megillat Esther, and the Purim story as a whole, into a text about man in general and the Jew in particular. Employing classical midrash, historical analogy, a deep understanding of human nature, and a fine ear for textual nuance, he breathes vivid life into the characters and events of the Megillah, and demonstrates the story's universal and contemporaneous messages.

    In the Hanukkah essays, too, the Rav draws universal lessons from the story of the Hasmonean rebellion and victory. He applies his exegetic and homiletic skills to the account of Hanukkah in Maimonides' Code and in liturgical texts, such as Al ha-nissim and Ha-nerot hallalu. For the Rav, the spiritual core of the Hanukkah story also provides the key to explaining distinctive Halakhic features of the holiday. He views the spiritual struggle waged by Matityahu and his sons as symbolic of the battle for Jewish self-realization carried on by generations of Jews, from Jacob and Joseph in the Bible to our own day.

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  • MeOtzar HoRav: Selected Writings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik # 09

    Abraham’s Journey

    Joseph B. Soloveitchik

    Reuven Ziegler

    "To write about Abraham today would appear to be a peculiar, if not absurd, undertaking. How can an ancient figure, enveloped in the fog of mystery and (in the opinion of today's cynical man) myth, fascinate the imagination and vision of modern scholars and preachers? They confront innumerable problems of enormous magnitude and force, and face situations which captivate their fantasy with both greatness and perplexing tragedy. Why should they investigate and probe a person who emerges from the unknown historic twilight, whose contours and features are blurred and almost imperceptible to the onlooker, while there is a world full of marvels, light, and charm that wink at and tantalize us? Why watch a bubble riding on the crest of a wave disappearing at the distant horizon, while a mighty tide rolls on toward us and breaks at our feet"

    - Excerpt from Abraham's Journey .

    Abraham's Journey: Reflections on the Life of the Founding Patriarch focuses on the life of Avraham Avinu, founding patriarch of the Jewish People. Abraham was not only the first Jew, but also a historical prototype, his experiences and actions foreshadowing critical patterns in the history of his people. In addition, Abraham serves as a spiritual and ethical model to his descendants. He is a teacher, a paragon of kindness, a lonely iconoclast, a master of sacrifice, and a knight of faith. Through careful exegesis of verses, illuminating analyses of character, and insightful readings of classical commentators, the essays in this book seek both the eternal and the contemporary messages of the Abraham story.

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  • MeOtzar HoRav: Selected Writings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik # 11

    Vision and Leadership

    Joseph B. Soloveitchik

    David Shatz, Joel B. Wolowelsky, and Reuven Ziegler

    2 Review(s)

    Vision and Leadership, the eleventh in the series MeOtzar HoRav: Selected Writings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, presents Rabbi Soloveitchik's reflections on Biblical narratives and characters, beginning with the Joseph stories and the Jewish people's sojourn in Egypt and ending with the story of Moses' death on the brink of return to the Promised Land. Through careful exegesis of the verses, illuminating analyses of character, and insightful readings of midrashim and classic medieval commentators, the reflections in this book seek the underlying messages of biblical stories and an understanding of what they teach us about past and present events in the life of the Jewish people. They also shed light on broader concepts, such as the nature of justice, idolatry, spiritual authority, and Halakhic thought. 

     

    Soon after the revelation at Sinai, the Jews committed the sin of the Golden Calf. We should note that prima facie this sin was more abominable, more horrible, than the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. If we translate it into Halakhic terms, the sin of the Tree of Knowledge consisted in eating forbidden foods, while the sin of the Golden Calf touched the very essence of Judaism, namely, the prohibition against idolatry. Yet, when Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge, all future generations were struck by disaster. Adam alienated himself from his Creator and was driven out of Paradise. According to Hazal, God had intended for man to live forever, but the original sin brought about death and man became mortal. When the community alienated itself from the Creator by worshipping the Golden Calf, the consequences of the sin were not as tragic.

    ~ excerpted from Vision and Leadership

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