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The Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur

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The Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur

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The Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur
With commentary based upon the teaching of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
Translation of the Tefillot by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
OU Press & Koren Publishers, 2011
ISBN: 978-965-301-2769

Reviewed by Boris Segel - December 6, 2011

The Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur is an attractive and enriching Hebrew - English Siddur (prayer book) enhanced by the inclusion of commentaries based upon the teaching of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik z"l (1903-1993). This prayer book follows the Ashkenazic, orthodox tradition. This is a right-opening book, with the Hebrew text of the Siddur on the left-hand side of each page, along with an eloquent English translation of the prayers to be found on the facing right-hand page. The prayers (tefillot) were rendered into English by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who has serves as the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain since 1991.

The two main exceptions to this format are that the Torah Readings section, which is presented in Hebrew only and the Rabbi's Kaddish and Mourner's Kaddish, found on the last pages of the Siddur, are presented in transliterated Hebrew. Throughout, all instructions are given in English.

Marginal notes are presented along the outer margins of the text, indicating, when applicable, where specific passages were obtained. Examples of these margin notes include Targum Onkelos, Ezek. 3, Ps. 22, Deut. 25, Berakhot 17a, etc... (A list of the abbreviations used in for these margin notes are not included in the text, but most are self-explanatory.) Commentaries (in English) on the text are found at the bottom of many pages throughout the Siddur. Throughout, parchment coloured paper is used.

In addition to the main text of the Siddur, the HaRav Siddur also includes a wealth of addition information, including several spiritually uplifting and edifying introductory essays on the nature of prayer and on the life and works of Rabbi Soloveitchik, These include:

  • Prayer in the Teachings of Rav Soloveitchik, by Rav Aharon Lichtenstein.
  • Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik on Jewish Faith and Prayer, by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.
  • The Rav: A Persona Reminiscence, by Julius Berman.
  • The Editor's Foreword, by Dr. Arnold Lustiger.
  • A General Editor's Introduction, by Rabbi Menachem Benack.
  • and, the Publisher's Preface, by Matthew Miller.

    These essays are followed by a list of Hanhagot HaRav that explains many of the personal customs and practices followed by "The Rav" when he prayed. There is also a section entitled Reshimot that contains summaries of many of the Rav's shiurim (lectures/teachings) on a variety of halachic (legal) subjects related to prayer. The essays and supplemental materials are all presented in English.

    The Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur is ideally suited for use in both the home and in synagogue. It also serves as an introduction to the Rav's teaching, and as such can be used as a study aid. Most important, the Rav's commentaries serve to bring the meaning and the importance of the tefillot to the fore, and to bring greater depth and meaning to one's davening (praying).

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