RABBI BEREL WEIN has become a household word on six continents, as a foremost rosh yeshivah, rabbi, lecturer and historian. His scintillating presentations of Jewish history have won him a host of admirers -- and deservedly so.
Perceptively, wittily, wisely and accurately, he presents an ancient story as if it were happening before our eyes. He relates old dilemmas to today’s problems and shows how Jewish history is an endless and inspiring continuum.
In this, his third masterwork, Rabbi Wein takes us from the end of the First Temple Era to the times of the Geonim. He transports us to the eras of Alexander the Great; the miracle of Chanukah; the creation of the Mishnah and Talmud, and how they saved Jewish life for all time; the Roman Empire and the courageous rebellion of Bar Kochba; the rise of Christianity; such great Geonim as R’ Saadia, R’ Sherira and R’ Hai, and how they led the monumental Torah centers of Babylonia and North Africa; the emergence of Islam and the Jewish response; Jewish life taking root in the then barbarous lands of Europe.
Rabbi Wein places Jewish history in the context of the times. Just as important, he tells it from the perspective of the Jews, not through the eyes of Jewry’s enemies and conquerors, as history books commonly do.
The author has a voracious appetite for history and even the places where it happened. When he tours the world, he sees it as the locale of Jewish eternity, the settings where our nation took shape, the building blocks of today. His broad experience lets him paint the picture of yesterday with the broad strokes of scholarly insight.
In this new volume, Rabbi Wein introduces us to times that were exotic, exciting, dangerous, triumphant. This book does them justice. Seldom is a must reading so enjoyable.