The Kosher Bookworm Our Sages in Pirkei Avot: Their Biographies
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Rabbi Lau, in his introduction, goes to great lengths in describing his method. The following is but a short exert of this:
“In this book, I attempt to trace the development of Jewish thought as formulated by the sages of the Second Temple period. This necessitated a deep examination of the breadth of scholarly literature: philological, historical, Talmudic and philosophic.”
“The examination of the teachings of the Second Temple sages is an attempt to listen to and contemplate world history and the teaching of the Jewish sages.”
Within the covers of this work the sages of Pirkei Avot come to life both in their deeds and by their words. It offers you, as the reader and learner, a unique perspective of the sages, wherein you get to view them as individuals with unique teachings, points of view, as well as having human feelings and opinions that are reflective of the time of their lives.
Reading this work together with the teachings of Avot will surely further enhance your appreciation of the ethical messages being taught by these sages.
Another related work entitled “Sages of the Talmud” [Urim Publications, 2009] can serve as an apt supplement to any study of the Talmud. This work, by Rabbi Mordechai Judovits, is a collection of biographical information on the lives, sayings, and stories of 400 sages of the Talmud. All material contained herein is referenced for further study by you and will surely give you a better perspective of the reasoning behind the thoughts, opinions, and actions of these sages.
Rabbi Judovits is a Holocaust survivor who was deported with his family to Auschwitz in 1944 and liberated the next year. After the war he immigrated to the United States and currently lives in Boca Raton.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
I am happy to bring to your attention that the latest edition of the distinguished journal of Jewish law and thought, “Hakirah” volume 13 / spring 2012 is now available at most local book stores.
Among the topics discussed within this work are, “When Unity Reigned” by Rabbi Elazar Muskin, detailing the time, 1954, when Mizrachi and Agudah joined together in Cleveland to sponsor that year’s Yom Ha’atzma’ut celebration.