For nearly a century, Sfas Emes has been the challenging and provocative fare of outstanding scholars. One of the most brilliant roshei yeshivah of the last generation said, “I study the Sfas Emes every year, and whenever I review it again, I discover new ideas.” Embedded between the lines are diamonds waiting to be mined. It is a work that defies categorization. It is replete with the sort of insights that makes the perceptive reader gasp with the thrill of discovery, smile at the realization that a novel idea is truly the essence of the passage.
But the concise and complex language and thought process of this classic are daunting to all but a select few. Who would open the portals of its wisdom?
In his acclaimed and respected The Three Festivals, Rabbi Yosef Stern showed that the “impossible” can be done, that the profound, scintillating, pithy, incredibly rich discourses of the great Sfas Emes, Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Alter of Ger, can be distilled into enlightening and inspiring English essays. The author opens a window to one of Chassidic literature’s stellar achievements.
All agree that the Sfas Emes’ treatments of Chanukah and Purim are among his most brilliant achievements. In this remarkable work, the author isolates the primary themes of hundreds of discourses and weaves them together, topic by topic. The book reveals some of the loftiest and most enlightening thought of the last century, no matter what the reader’s language or background.