From the moment Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov revealed himself in the eighteenth century, the world has never been the same. The warmth, ectasy, spirituality, song, embrace of even ordinary folk, these are well known aspects of the Chassidic movement. Another dimension is less well known, but a major ingredient of this splendid new book. Torah. To the great leaders of Chassidim, as well as their followers, there is a meritocracy in Judaism, and its most revered figures are the scholars and teachers of the Torah. Everything else is an enhancement; Torah is the essence. For many years, the famed Israeli journalist Rabbi Ahron Sorasky has been publishing biographies of Torah leaders, from the worlds of the yeshivah and the courts of the Chassidic masters. Now, from his six Hebrew volumes of Marbitzei Torah MeOlam HaChassidus, Artscroll has culled seven outstanding essays. They tell of rebbes, rabbis, and roshei yeshivah who served, taught and inspired in four countries on two hemispheres. The Chiddushei HaRim, the Avnei Nezer, the Minchas Elazar, the Rogatchover, Rabbi Menachem Ziemba, Rabbi Meir Shapiro, and Rabbi Gedalia Schorr. Their personalities and ways of interaction were different, sharply different, but they all shared a Chassidic heritage and an unwavering devotion to the study and teaching of Torah; that was their lofty common denominator. Today's Jewish world is different because of them, because they created a fortress of faith, devotion, and scholarship that was imprevious to gas chambers and atrocities. In life, they lived for their Torah; in death they live in their Torah. And in this book, their individual greatness comes to life for a new generation of English readers.
by Rabbi Ahron Sorasky
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