By Dr. Nosson Chayim Leff
The Sfas Emes (aka the Gerre Rebbe (1871-1905 )) is well known for his innovative, mind-stretching Diverei Torah . Unfortunately , his writing style is sometimes hard to understand. As a result, many people who would enjoy learning the Sfas Emes–and grow in their Avoda if they had access to his thought– lose out. Hence, the all-too–frequent cases of “burn out ” with rebbeim and “off the derech ” with talmidim . Many of those sad stories could be avoided if people would open their intellectual windows to let in the fresh air of exciting, new ideas like those offered by the Sfas Emes.
In its own very small way, my Sefer ( Emes Ve’emunah : A Sfas Emes Companion ), attempts to deal with this situation. It does so by presenting a ma’amar of the Sfas Emes for every Shabbos and Yom Tov of the year. The presentations are done in clear, concise English. And to show why I interpret the Sfas Emes’ ma’amarim the way I do, the Sefer also includes the text of the Sfas Emes’ own words in leshon hakodesh.
The availability of the ma’amarim in both Hebrew an English has two favorable consequences. First, it gives people who know only English access to the Sfas Emes’ Diveri Torah. Second, the fact that the same substantive message comes in both languages ( and also appears in close proximity to each other) makes it easier for novices to learn the language of the Sfas Emes, and thus to gain more direct access to his thought.
This account of the Sefer may make it sound too good to be true. I suggest that you relax and enjoy the Sefer . Note that the Sefer comes with letters of approbation from all sides : R.Mordechai Willig ; R. Reuvain Feinstein ; and R. Zev Leff (no relation ), shelita.
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