Title: Revealed Texts, Hidden Meanings: Finding the Religious Significance in Tanakh
Author: Hayyim J. Angel
Publisher: Ktav Publishing House
Title: Fresh Fruit and Vintage Wine: The Ethics and Wisdom of the Aggada
Author: Yitzchak Blau
Publisher: Ktav Publishing House/OU Press
Ktav has recently published two books by young scholars whose well-respected teaching skills have been skillfully adapted to the written word. Rabbi Angel, one of the talented and popular Bible teachers at Yeshiva University and rabbi of the historic Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in New York, brings us a sequel to his well-received Through an Opaque Lens.
Both books illustrate why he is regarded as a master Bible teacher. He explores the principles of learning methodology followed by a series of textual studies that apply those principles. Alas, too many yeshivas avoid the study of Nakh. Rabbi Angel’s books show how much their students are losing. The richness of the texts become more obvious to the readers as they are led through an illuminating discussion of the texts.
Fresh Fruit and Vintage Wine is a collection of shiurim first delivered through the Virtual Bet Midrash of Yeshivat Har Etzion in Gush Etzion.
Focusing on Talmudic aggadot grouped by topic, it shows how commentators throughout the ages have grappled with the ethical lessons being taught, debating between themselves with no less fervor than they approached the halachic Talmudic sugyot.
Leading us from the Maharsha to Rav Zadok haKohen of Lublin, to Rav Kook, Rav Hutner and Rav Soloveitchik, Rabbi Blau exposes the contemporary relevance of these Talmudic texts, showing how basic ethical discussions continued through the ages. Rabbi Blau was one of the talented Judaic studies teachers at the Yeshiva of Flatbush before making aliya and teaching at Yeshivat HaMivtar. He now shares his enviable pedagogical skills with a wider appreciative audience.
Fresh Fruits is the second volume of the OU Press, a project of the Orthodox Union under the general editorship of Rabbi Menachem Genack. The first volume of the Press was Rav Soloveitchik’s Passover Haggadah, An Exalted Evening. Now it begins to fulfill its mission of serving as a platform for young distinguished scholars.
Prof. Oscar Mohl