Jewish Thinkers

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As you may remember if you are a regular reader of this blog, I am a fan of Rabbi Joseph Telushkin and have read most of his books. I have particularly enjoyed the first two volumes of A Code of Jewish Ethics. Two authors that have also inspired me are Blu Greenberg and Eliezer Berkovits.

Yet, in the past few months I have not read anything that could compare to these authors. I am considering getting Torah Umadda by Norman Lamm which has just been reprinted for the 20th anniversary of the first edition (with an afterword by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks) and was wondering whether any of you had read it. More generally I would love to know what Jewish thinkers and writers inspire you the most.

Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm and Torah U’Madda, a post by Harry Maryles

Torah Umadda Is Better Than Ever, a review by Rabbi Gil Student

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17 thoughts on “Jewish Thinkers

  1. Eim Habanim Semeichah” (written by R’ Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal in Europe in 1943 – without books or reference materials; translated into English by R’ Moshe Lichtman in 2000) is a truly amazing and incredibly inspiring take on Zionism, faith, and Eretz Yisrael.

  2. Not that I’ve read his books, but I do like his divrei Torah – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, whom you mentioned.

    And he’s not really a writer on Judaism, but in a way, he is – I’m reading the autobiography of Natan Sharansky, Fear No Evil. Here’s someone with no Jewish education who (re?)discovers Judaism – and how it aids in his freedom struggle.

  3. Two more ideas:
    What’s Bothering Rashi series by Avigdor Bonchek – not philosophy but the nitty, gritty yet fascinating details of many of Rashi’s commentaries on the Torah.

    Torah of the Mothers

  4. I like Rabbi Telushkin, as you know. I also like Rabbi Sacks. I like reading Eli Wiesel’s books which give me food for thought, especially regarding the sages/wise men of old and their opinions on the Torah. I have learned much from Wiesel in that regard, and feel he is somewhat of a modern day sage.

      • I like all of his books I have read, including fiction. The first book of his I read was Night, the story of his time in Auschwitz…it was quite heart-wrenching.

        Regarding the wise men:
        -Wise Men and Their Tales (Portraits of Biblical, Talmudic and Hasidic figures)
        -Rashi a biography
        -Five Biblical Portraits
        -Four Hasidic Masters-and their struggle against melancholy
        -Souls on Fire: Portraits and Legends of Hasidic Masters
        (I have recently reread all of these books.)

        I also enjoyed-Messengers of God

        I have enjoyed his memoirs and also his novels. One novel, The Judges is quite compelling, and I read it again, recently. The Forgotten is also compelling.

        I find some of his books difficult to comprehend at times, but stick with them, because he always has a significant message to tell his readers, and the Holocaust is always a theme in his novels, whether underlying or major.

        I also like to read Primo Levi, and his books are strong testaments to courage and mankind.

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