In an ongoing effort to share the teachings of today’s leading Talmidei Chachamim [Torah scholars], TorahWeb has published a new and highly anticipated volume, Torah Essays by Rav Hershel Schachter & Rav Mayer Twersky on Fundamental Halachic and Hashkafic Issues. Rabbi Hershel Schachter is rosh yeshiva [head of yeshiva] at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), the rabbinical school affiliated with Yeshiva University, and Rabbi Twersky holds the Leib Merkin Distinguished Professional Chair in Talmud and Jewish Philosophy at RIETS and is a rosh yeshiva in the Mazer Yeshiva Program of Talmudic Studies at Yeshiva College.
The book was edited by Judah Diament, chair of the computer science department at Yeshiva College, an alumnus of Yeshiva College and RIETS, and also TorahWeb’s founder.
According to the book’s introduction, the volume contains divrei Torah [lessons from the Torah] written by Rav Schachter and Rav Twersky that appeared on TorahWeb.org. over the last 22 years. The essays provide insight into various parshiyos [chapters in the Torah] and convey the Torah’s attitudes towards the topics discussed as well as how they should be applied to the challenges facing contemporary society.
An example of topics explored by Rabbi Schachter in the book includes the Jews’ dual relationship with the secular world, how to choose a rabbi, when the ends justify the means, the sanctity of Jewish marriage, selective observance and davening [praying] on airplanes. Among the topics explored by Rabbi Twersky are appreciating our blessings, free will and divine providence, inspiration and redemption, and kidushas Hashem [sanctifying G-d’s name].
Most of the divrei Torah were written in conjunction with, and organized by, parshas hashavua [weekly Torah reading], while the last section, entitled “Torah Guidance,” contains the authors’ insights regarding various pressing issues with no connection to a specific parsha. The reader is encouraged to take advantage of this dual organization to create his or her own schedule of study that will, as Diament writes, “Be’ezras Hashem [with G-d’s help], facilitate internalization.”
The book has been written to appeal to a wide audience, from those with a formal yeshiva education to others who are newer to Torah learning. Quotes from the Chumash [bible], Gemara [Talmud] and other sources are reproduced in Hebrew and translated into English, and individual Hebrew words or phrases which are not quotes are often transliterated and italicized as well as translated into English in the glossary.
This important volume is the latest publication in a long and impressive list of popular books published by TorahWeb that explores a wide range of discussions by leading Torah scholars, many of whom are on the faculty of Yeshiva University. “I think this is the most important volume we have published, due to who the authors are, the range of topics covered, and the quality and richness in which they are covered,” said Diament. Despite his being chair and professor of computer science courses at Yeshiva College, Diament made sure to find the time to work on the book. “I would say that having a computer science professor who takes of his own free time to do something like this is representative of an approach to life driven by a responsibility and dedication to a higher goal that our Roshei Yeshiva both model themselves and also try to imbue in their students, regardless of what field they’ve chosen to pursue.”
To purchase the new book, visit Menucha Publishers.