May 8, 2017

Book Review: At His Rebbi's Side

NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.

Book Review: At His Rebbi's Side: Rabbi Yehoshua Liff’s 50 years of personal encounters with Gedolei Yisrael, by Rabbi Nachman Seltzer


At His Rebbi's Side is a book of stories written by Rabbi Nachman Seltzer, a talented writer and storyteller. The stories are not Seltzer's, but they are stories of the relationships Rabbi Yehoshua Liff had with various gedolim throughout his life experiences.

So, At His Rebbi's Side is really a book of stories of gedolim. However, it is not your average "gedolim book" in which you read about how this rav finished shas by the age of 7 or knew shulchan aruch by heart by the age of 12 or anything like that. These are stories that were experienced in a very personal way through a very personal relationship that don't just show the reader how smart or diligent or studious Rav X was - rather, they show how these rabbonim acted with other people. These are stories personally experienced that show how the rabbonim interacted with others, how they were human, how they were considerate, how they had gratitude for others who helped them, how they did not want to inconvenience others.

In "At His Rebbi's Side" Rabbi Liff relates, through Nachman Seltzer, stories from gedolim such as Rav Moshe Feinstein, under whom he studied for many years as a young bachur, Rav Shach, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rav Elyashiv, Rav Ruderman, Rav Beinish Finkel and Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, Rav Gifter, and a number of other rabbonim/gedolim. With some of them Rabbi Liff had a deep personal relationship, and the stories reflect it, and with others the relationship was perhaps not as deep but Rabbi Liff seems to have had the personality to develop relationships even with less of a connection available.

The stories are fascinating and thoughtful. I was previously familiar with some of the gedolim described in the book  - for example, I grew up in the days of Rav Moshe Feinstein's heyday as being the gadol of America - I am familiar with his reputation and style, even having only seen him once or twice as a child. Rav Gifter - I  learned in telshe Yeshiva in Chicago, and knew about Rabbi Gifter, even though I only actually saw him a handful of times at most. Rav Shlomo Zalman, Rav Shach and Rav Elyashiv - having been in Israel since the beginning of the '90s, how can I not know of them, even having seen each of them just a few times. The stories related about them, while almost all of the stories were new to me, were true to each rav's reputation.

At His Rebbi's Side is a fabulous book. People who want more than just the biography of a rav - he went there, took a rabinic position there, finished Shas there, received thousands of visitors for blessings - should read this book to get more of a personal insight into some of the greatest rabbonim of the recent generations.



buy At His Rebbi's Side on Artscroll

buy At His Rebbi's Side on Amazon.com



NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.



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