Rabbi Yasgur’s Torah Conversations adds light and a human face to the much admired biblical teacher Nechama Leibowitz (1905-1997). Yasgur, who has been Leibowitz’s student since 1972, has maintained a relationship with his teacher via personal correspondence, phone calls and visits. Professor Leibowitz has never left Israel since her arrival in 1930.
Rabbi Yasgur presents biblical discussions like “The Rule of Distant Past” (Avar Rahok), “Jacob’s Masquerade,” “The Arrival and Return of Jethro,” as well as contemporary religious-observant issues. One of the latter is the interesting “Psak from Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach” regarding interaction with drivers on Shabbat. Professor Leibowitz writes in Hebrew and biblical quotations are in Hebrew. The Hebrew texts are supplied with parallel translations into English. Rabbi Yasgur acquaints the readers with Professor Leibowitz’s interactive “Pedagogic Principles,” as well as “Nechama’s Self-Defined Contribution to Torah Learning.” The reader is able to investigate, in English, “A Classic Example: A Gilayon from Nechama Leibowitz on the Binding of Isaac.”
Yasgur and Leibowitz discuss teaching Humash in the Diaspora, and “Living in the Diaspora vs. Israel.” The book will interest all teachers and students of the Bible. It should be a part of Jewish High Schools, Yeshivot, Synagogues and academic libraries. Updates and revisions to the volume may be found at: http://www.ConversationswithNechama.com.
This review originally appeared in the AJL Newsletter.