Thursday, February 08, 2007

Blogging the Book Sale

I really like the SOY book sale. I think it's a metaphor for Modern Orthodoxy at its best: scholarly, traditional, accommodating, inclusive.

At the sale, men and women mix easily, modestly and respectfully. The tables are overladen with books from across the very wide Orthodox spectrum (new age garbage included.) and the shoppers are equally diverse: You'll see very yeshivish looking men lovingly handling the Mishna Berurahs and Shem MeShmuels right alongside people busily browsing the books of Nathan Slifkin and Marc Shapiro.

I made my annual pilgrimage to the event last week. Among the volumes I added to my collection:

Exploring Exodus, by Nachun Sarna
I know next to nothing about Sarna, except that Alter quotes him extensivly. I expect this book will provide fodder for at least 3-5 years of DovBear on the Parsha.

Abraham Geiger's Liberal Judaism
I think Geiger had a good idea that went bad. I'll be in a better position to support this claim (I hope) after I've finished this book

JEWISH PREACHING, 1200-1800 by Marc Saperstein
I'm a sucker for speeches. I have at least three anthologies of famous speeches on my shelf; someday I hope to get around to actually reading them all.

Memories of A Giant: Eulogies in Memory of Rabbi Dr. Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt"l
All of the funeral eulogies, and several dozen remembrances written and spoken by his students are included. As whole, I expect they will form a facinating biography of the man, while also providing details about what it was like to be a Jew in NY at YU in the 40s, 50s and 60s. The eulogy given by his brother Aaron Solivetchik at the funeral is especially interesting. Drawing on the story of Rashby and his son who hid for 7 years in a cave, R' Aharon says that R' Yosef Dov and his father R' Moshe were also hiding in a cave, ie: Yeshiva University. There are at least 6 ways to spin this --some of them negative, some of them positive, and by the time R'Aharon wrapped up he touched on them all --while also managing to criticize (1) YU students and (2) the Rosh Yeshivos of other institutions (after taking care to announce that he didn't intend to criticize anyone.) Reading it, I caught the whiff of bitterness mixed with pride. Bitterness that the larger yeshiva world to an extent had rejected the Rav, and pride that despite the rejection, the Rav had persevered. Fascinating stuff.

Blogging the Book Sale 2005: I II III
Blogging the Book Sale 2006

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