Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 5¾ x 8½
978-0-7425-5220-3 • Hardback • August 2007 • $100.00 • (£77.00)
978-0-7425-5221-0 • Paperback • August 2007 • $36.00 • (£28.00)
978-0-7425-6614-9 • eBook • August 2007 • $34.00 • (£26.00)
David Weiss Halivni is Professor Emeritus of Classical Jewish Civilization at Columbia University. Halivni survived the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Wolfsberg, and Mathausen—his entire family was murdered in the camps. Most widely known for his scholarly commentary on the Talmud, Halivni has also written a series of more general studies of the classic rabbinic literature that remains the foundation for all contemporary forms of Judaism.
Rabbi Halivni was awarded The Israel Prize in Talmud, this year. The Israel Prize, the highest honor in Israel, will be awarded on Israel Independence Day, observed this year on May 8.
Peter Ochs is professor of Modern Judaic Studies at the University of Virginia.
1 Prologue: Between Sinai and Auschwitz
2 Editor's Introduction
4 Chapter One: Prayer in the Shoah
6 Chapter Two: Restoring Scripture
8 Chapter Three: Breaking the Tablets and Begetting the Oral Law
10 Chapter Four: Between Auschwitz and Sinai
Erudition, scholarship, depth of knowledge, sharp insight, brilliant commentary and innovative interpretation: all these are to be found in David Weiss Halivni's new volume on the Talmud—a field in which he has been recognized as one of this generation's great Masters.
— Elie Wiesel
This is a deep, powerful book. Halivni's achievement is awe-inspiring: he came through Auschwitz as a young man, then became one of the leading Jewish scholars in the world. In these essays he points to a way of spiritual and intellectual renewal for Judaism that has lessons for other faiths too. His combination of great learning, passionate prayer, and prophetic daring connects Sinai to Auschwitz and opens a way into the twenty-first century that is prayerful and faithful, yet realistic. He has an ideal editor and interpreter in Peter Ochs, whose comments and drawing out of implications can even at times articulate Halivni's message better than Halivni himself. Halivni and Ochs together are a sign of hope for academy, synagogue and civilization.
— David Ford, professor of divinity, University of Cambridge
With profound insight, the greatest rabbinic scholar living today explicates for us some of the faith, hope, and intelligence that has kept and still keeps his soul from succumbing to the Shoah, which is his greatest agony, the greatest agony of our people and, indeed, the greatest agony in human history. He has done this by showing that his scholarly attempt to retrieve the original meaning of classical Jewish texts, which were written at times when God was closer, works in tandem with his continuing hope and prayer for the return to the world of the God who was absent in Auschwitz. This latest explication of his Jewish theology is considerably aided by the excellent interpretations it has elicited from Professor Peter Ochs.
— David Novak, Executive Chairman, YUM Brands
This small volume has been skillfully edited....Halvini [and Ochs] give us much to reflect on and ponder.
— 2008; Jewish Book World
Halivni speaks with the authority of scholarly erudition, life experience, and longing for the restoration of both Torah and God's nearness. . . . His passion and authenticity are deeply moving…. Breaking the Tablets is a careful and imaginative tracing in rabbinic literature … it is a significant contribution to post-Shoah theology.
— Laurence Edwards; CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly
In these profound meditations on the future of Torah and Jewish theology, ably edited and explicated by Peter Ochs, David Weiss Halivni proposes how the gap between divine revelation at Sinai and divine absence at Auschwitz can and must be bridged.
— Judith R. Baskin, University of Oregon
When Holocaust survivor and renowned Talmudist David Weiss Halivni writes a work of theology dealing with the question of God and the Holocaust, attention is merited. When he writes a work that is traditional and radical, at once personal and philosophical, one's interest deepens.
— Journal of Genocide Research, January 2009
These important views are well-researched and convincingly argued.
— Shubert Spero, Bar-Ilan University