For more than a generation, Rabbi Michael L. Munk, as a sidelight to his busy schedule of educational and communal work, has fascinated audiences with his learned and provocative lectures on the Hebrew alphabet. In the process of opening eyes and raising eyebrows, he has convinced countless people that his contention is true: the Hebrew alphabet abounds in scholarly and mystical meaning. He has developed and proven a profound thesis. The alphabet - if correctly understood - is a primer for life. Ethical conduct, religious guidance, philosophical insights, all are nestled in the curls, crowns, and combinations of the Hebrew letters. This is one of those rare books that is both interesting and profound, learned and readable. The wisdom and compassion of the author is evident in those subtle ways that do not intrude on the reader, but give him the satisfaction of knowing that a rich, warm, productive lifetime of experience is flavoring the text. Rabbi Munk was born in Berlin, the son of the illustrious chief rabbi of the Orthodox community. He was a leading battler against attempts to outlaw kosher slaughter in pre-Holocaust Germany, and pioneered in scientific research to prove the humaneness of shechitah. In London he found the thriving Adath Yisrael Synagogue of Hendon; in America he was the founding principal of what is now the largest Orthodox girl's school in the world, and he assumed his defense of pro-shechitah legislation in the nation's capital. After the war, he volunteered a year of his life to help the hapless survivors in Europe's Displaced Persons camps. A brilliant educator, author, and activist, Rabbi Munk has gained the respect and affection of thousands in a long and fruitful career. This book helps us see why.
by Rabbi Michael L. Munk