by Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Yair Hillel Goelman
"A fierce work still connected to the cloister of Meah Shearim" -The Forward
For the first time, the writings of one of the 20th century's most important Hasidic thinkers are made available to a non-Hasidic English audience.
Rabbi Ahron "Ahrele" Roth (1894-1944) was born into the ultra-Orthodox world and wrote exclusively for a very small community of Hasidim that he founded and which continues to this day. His work is little known outside of this insular community of Yiddish-speaking followers in Israel and New York.
Reb Ahrele has a great deal to say to sincere spiritual seekers far beyond his own community. This volume includes an intense, representative selection of the large body of work Reb Ahrele produced in his relatively short life.
Reb Ahrele taught his followers how they could reconnect with their true, simple, spiritual selves by providing them with clear, practical instructions in the realm of spiritual consciousness, discipline and practice. He worked persistently to communicate specific steps in order to arouse his followers' deepest spiritual intentions.
About the Authors
Louis Rieser was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, in 1975. Since 1997 he serves as the rabbi of Etz Hayim Synagogue in Derry, NH. He previously served as a Hillel rabbi at Ohio University and at Emory University. He was also the rabbi for Temple Israel of Greenfield (MA).
Rabbi Rieser served as president of the Northeast Region of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and is currently the regional representative to the national board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He sits on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Manchester (NH). Rabbi Rieser helped design and co-led the first New Hampshire Jewish-Catholic Seder in March, 2002, co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Manchester, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, and the Center for Christian Jewish Learning at Boston College.
Rabbi Rieser teaches regularly at both the winter retreat and the summer institute of the National Havurah Committee. In 2003 he taught a highly successful course titled, “The Hillel Narratives”, based on these essays. His article, “Living With Imperfection”, is included in the recently published collection, What is Jewish About America’s “Favorite Pastime”?: Essays and Sermons on Jews, Judaism and Baseball. His articles have appeared in the CCAR Journal, the MAQOM Journal, and New Menorah. He is a regular book reviewer for Church & Synagogue Library Review. He was a regular contributor to the D’var Torah Column maintained by the National Havurah Committee between 1986 –1991.
Would Reb Ahrele
"The Hillel Narratives brings the contemporary critical program of critical learning to the Rabbinic stories and undertakes a fresh and engaging reading of the Rabbinic biography. This book proves that more is to be learned from the stories of the Rabbinic writings than mere literalism or paraphrase or pseudo-history yields. Louis Rieser has reopened the Rabbinic stories and made them interesting again. He asks questions of religion to documents of religion. So he sets forth the model of how to interpret the Rabbinic stories about sages and his book guides us in the aftermath of the critical revolution in Rabbinic studies that challenges us all."
"Louis Rieser's fascinating and insightful readings of the Hillel narratives will delight all those interested in Talmudic stories of the lives and deeds of the sages and in the important lessons they teach us."