Legendary Composer’s Torah Commentary Published Nearly Two Decades After His Death

by Sandy Eller

New York – Almost seventeen years to the day since Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach died of a heart attack at age 69 on a flight to Canada, his thoughts and commentaries on the first half of Sefer Bereishis century will be available for the first time to the public.

Even Shlomo, published by Urim Publications and The Shlomo Carlebach Legacy Foundation, was released last week in Israel and is slated to debut in New York this week. The 263 page hardcover volume, fourteen years in the making, encompasses the unique insights of the man who was inarguably the greatest composer of the twentieth century on parshiyos Bereishis through Toldos.

Compiling a posthumous commentary on the entire Chumash from someone who never wrote down a single word was no small task, according to editor Rabbi Shlomo Katz, a renowned musician who not only follows in Reb Shlomo’s musical footsteps but is also an integral part of the Shlomo Carlebach Legacy Trust which is devoted to publishing and distributing Reb Shlomo’s legacy.

“We have been collecting his works for years,” Rabbi Katz told VIN News. “We have recordings of concerts, classes and hundreds of thousands of hours of shiurim that Reb Shlomo gave. To date, we have gone through 1.2 terabytes of information and even that is only four percent of all the material we have acquired.”

This volume is expected to be the first in a series of seforim featuring Reb Shlomo’s Torah thoughts and the second half of Sefer Bereishis is expected to be released next summer. Rabbi Katz anticipates that future volumes will cover all of Chamisha Chumshei Torah, Neviim, Megillos and seforim on the different Yomim Tovim.

While most people think of music when they hear the name “Carlebach” many are not aware that the gifted composer had rare semicha from the Pachad Yitzchak, R’ Yitzchok Hutner and learned with Reb Aaron Kotler, Reb Shlomo Heiman and the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Known as a brilliant scholar and one of the top students at Beis Medrash Govoha in his day, Reb Shlomo was known for taking two suitcases with him on all of his travels, with one half of one suitcase devoted to clothing while, the remaining suitcase and a half were dedicated to seforim.

Despite the fact that Reb Shlomo attended Litvishe yeshivos in his youth, he spent a considerable amount of time surrounded by chasidus.

“It is very clear in Reb Shlomo’s commentaries in this sefer that he was very influenced by his chasidus,” explained Rabbi Katz. “His observations are a blend of those influences and like his music are both unique and filled with sweetness.”

This post appeared on the Vos Iz Neias site on October 30.

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