Blessings and Thanksgiving
Reflections on the Siddur and Synagogue
by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik
Edited by Shalom Carmy and Joel B. Wolowelsky
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For Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, one of the most profound religious thinkers of the twentieth century, prayer expresses a Jew’s deepest religious emotions and makes explicit the foundations of Jewish faith. The topic of prayer therefore preoccupied Rabbi Soloveitchik throughout his long career.
This volume collects ten of his studies on prayer, based on edited transcripts of public lectures and previously unpublished manuscripts, as well as essays newly translated from Hebrew and Yiddish. These studies add a new dimension to the Rav’s previously published writings on tefilla, focusing not only on its general aspects but on individual prayers and blessings and their particular details. As the editors write in their introduction, “Without these essays, the Rav’s philosophy of prayer would be drastically incomplete.”
Blessings and Thanksgiving is a significant contribution toward our understanding not only of specific prayers, but of the Jewish approach to the encounter between man and God as understood and experienced by a giant of Jewish thought.