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The Rav Thinking Aloud

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The Rav Thinking Aloud

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The Rav Thinking Aloud
Transcripts of Personal Conversations with Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
By David Holzer and Aryeh Holzer
HolzerSeforim, 2009, 359 pages
ISBN 978-0-9821310-0-8

Reviewed by Israel Drazin - December 6, 2010

Rabbi David Holzer served as Rabbi Soloveitchik's shamash, his assistant, for six years, taped many of his conversations, and presents them here. Since there are many books that speak about this rabbi (affectionally called the Rav, "the rabbi," 1903-1993), one of the leaders of Orthodox Jewry, and many writers have different versions of him, Holder's book of direct quotes is a valuable source for understanding this sage. Some readers may be surprised at a number of the near-mystical ideas and may not agree with them; others will applaud his views. I outlined the Rav's teachings on how the Torah should be understood in my review of Holzer's 2010 volume on the Rav and readers may want to look at that synopsis. This book contains an extensive history of the Rav's family in his own words, including the fact that when Yeshiva University originally hired him, it offered him a small salary to discourage him from taking the job. The following are some of the Rav's ideas in this volume.

Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of seventeen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides. The Orthodox Union (OU) and Yeshiva University publish weekly chapters of Drazin and Wagner's book Let's Study Onkelos on and on His website is

The views expressed in this review/article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jewish Eye.
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