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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult but rewarding view of man and God., 17 Oct 1997
By A Customer
Soloveitchik published only a few titles during his long life as the leading Orthodox rabbi of this century. This is the one new readers should start with. It is rather difficult, and for some a dictionary may be needed, but its rewards far surpass its difficulties. Soloveitchik's thesis is that there are two stories of creation in the Bible, not because there are two literary traditions, but because there are two sides to man. Majestic Adam sees God in the splendor of the universe, and shows reverence through science. Lonely Adam craves a personal relationship with God, which is glimpsed in fleeting moments. Soloveitchik has no use for cheap "spirituality." His is the real kind, which takes deep thought and a lot of work. His is also the kind which, once attained, lasts a lifetime.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The difference between solitude and loneliness, 20 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Lonely Man of Faith (Paperback)
A beautiful and important book, by famed Rabbi Joseph B. "The Rav" Soloveitchik, a leading authority on the meaning of Jewish law and prominent force in building bridges between traditional Orthodox Judaism and the modern world.

In THE LONELY MAN OF FAITH, a soaring, eloquent essay first published in 'Tradition' magazine in 1965, Soloveitchik investigates the essential loneliness of the person of faith in our narcissistic, materially oriented, utilitarian society. In this modern classic, Soloveitchik uses the story of Adam and Eve as a springboard, interweaving insights from such important Western philosophers as Kierkegaard (cf. Fear and Trembling (Penguin Great Ideas), Kierkegaard: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)) and Kant (cf. Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy), Critique of Pure Reason (Penguin Modern Classics), Kant: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)) with innovative readings of Genesis (cf. Insights of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik: Discourses on Fundamental Theological Issues in Judaism) to provide guidance for the faithful in today's world. He explains prayer as "the harbinger of moral reformation," and discusses with empathy and understanding the despair and exasperation of individuals who seek personal redemption through direct knowledge of a God who seems remote and unapproachable.

The Rav shows that while the faithful may become members of a religious community, their true home is "the abode of loneliness." In a moving personal testimony, Soloveitchik demonstrates a deep-seated commitment, intellectual courage, and integrity that people of all religions will respond to.

Buy the book, please, and be transformed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Enquiring Mind, 7 July 2010
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Colin Wilks - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lonely Man of Faith (Paperback)
This book is a sincere view of who we are. For me it carries a universal truth. That is, it makes great sense even if not a religious person. All it requires is a starting belief - without any precise definition - that man and women have meaning and are part of something greater. Thus, as the book unfolds in all of its wisdom the reader begins to see that helping the world to grow be it medicine or engineering has significance alongside the search for the inner person. The references to Adam 1 and Adam 2, and the reference to Genesis can be seen either as a faith foundation or as a deeply felt metaphor for life itself. The book makes greater sense to me: a reminder of the deeper values of life no matter who we are, no matter the style of life we choose to live. It is a book of values and the Author, at no time, does not preach or push for acceptance. It is a journey in thought and a search for a richer meaning for life. It is easy to see that it brings the the role of marriage back to it roots and gives it fresh and meaningful vistas. This is my third purchase: the two earlier buys are so marked with my annotations that a third buy was inevitable. An essential buy, especially if starting a life or if at the cross roads and the minds begins to ask 'Who am I?'
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A philosophical and theological consideration of solitude, 2 April 2011
By 
Adam Frankenberg "Kol adam" (Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lonely Man of Faith (Paperback)
Rav Soloveitchik, was among the leading halakhic figures of the last century. In addition to his work in this field he was also an improtant philosophic thinker. He had not only been trained in the classical texts of Judaism but also philosophy in Berlin.
This book is based a seris of lectures given at Yeshiva University. Perhaps because this book is based on a sersis of public lectures it is a very accessable. Dispite the fact that it is higly accessable it is a profound work. Rav Soloveitchik uses the first two chapters of Genesis (which tell two similar but different accounts of the creation of the world and of Adam). Rav Soloveitchik encourprates insighties from philosophy from the likes of kant and Kierkegaard as well as Pyscology.

The basic argument of the book is that there are two Adams and therefore two types of characteristics within each of us (both commanded by God and in that sense both nature and necessary) one the out going individualistic Adam of Genesis One who if he does construct communities does so in a utilitrian way and the other Lonely (if not alone) Adam of Genesis two, who needs to construct a (faith)-community in order to draw closer to God. It is this lonely Man of Faith who gives the book its name.

Probably this book will be of most interest to people with some philosophical background and an interest in Judaism. However, it is accessable to almost any reader and i think that anyone will find much of interest in it.

The Lonely Man of Faith was first published in the magazine Tradition in 1965, however it is still as revelent to a postmodernist society as it was to the morderist one it was written for. It is short book, some ten shortish chapters nevertheless it is a profound work that is worth reading and then re-reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking work of art, 16 July 2014
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Extremely well written and a work of philosophical art. I am a song writer and I am writing about desires in a modern society and this work has fuelled a large amount of thought and lyrical production.

I would recommend for anyone who is interested in the way desires work or anyone maybe looking for advice as to how to balance desires with spirituality etc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why the Man of Faith is Lonely, 17 Jun 2014
By 
Robin Friedman (Washington, D.C. United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lonely Man of Faith (Paperback)
First published in 1965 in the Orthodox Jewish Journal, "Tradition", Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik's essay, "The Lonely Man of Faith" has become a much-studied exploration of the nature of religious life. Soloveitchick (1903 -- 1993) is widely regarded as the intellectual leader of Jewish Orthodoxy in the United States. He was born into a family of rabbis and in 1931 received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Berlin. In 1932, he moved to Boston where he lived for the remainder of his life while also spending a great deal of time teaching in New York City. Soloveitchik wrote many works explaining and interpreting Orthodox Jewish law (halakhah). He is frequently known by the honorific title, the Rav.

"The Lonely Man of Faith" is a strikingly personal, introspective work. Soloveitchik wants to focus on the personal situation and dilemmas faced by the "man of faith" and to explore how these dilemmas originate and what they mean to the religious life. It begins with Soloveitchik's plan to expound the simple sentence, "I am lonely." The book is difficult and erudite. It refers not only to traditional Jewish sources but also to a range of philosophers including Plotinus, Descartes, Kant, and Kierkegaard. Martin Buber's "I and Thou" is also a critically important work for this essay.

It is important to consider the intended audience for this essay. Published in an Orthodox Jewish periodical, the frame of reference of this work and the specifics of the exposition is Jewish Orthodoxy. The questions the book poses, however, are much broader and can be applied to the lives of serious individuals within any faith tradition. Indeed, late in the work Soloveitchik suggests that with the threat of the "dreary, mechanical world" of the present, the issues of the book may also in some cases "be pertinent even to secular man." Soloveitchik's book has been read by individuals of different religious faiths and thus has gone well beyond a work of Jewish Orthodoxy. The determination of the audience for the book, between sectarianism on the one hand and all people of faith on the other hand mirrors the basic issue the book poses of the difficult place of religious faith in the modern world in particular.

Soloveitchik develops his dilemmas by drawing a distinction between the two versions of the creation of Adam found in the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis. Adam 1, developed in the first account, shows man in his dignity and majesty. In this account, man rules over the natural world and develops art and culture through use of his intelligence. Woman, created at the same time as man, joins him as a partner in the pragmatic subdual of nature. Adam 2, in contrast, develops from loneliness. He is in need of redemption from the outset. When Adam 2 realizes he is alone, God creates woman from his rib. Adam 2 is in search of God and intimacy as opposed to, say, the business partner model of Adam 1. Adam 2 comes to know God, at least in the Jewish context, through prophecy and prayer and to the formation of a covenant between God and man as set out in the Torah. Soloveitchik stresses that Adam 1 and Adam 2 are aspects of the same person and of humanity. The divergent goals and approaches of Adam 1 and Adam 2 are both divinely created.

The book explores at some length the different natures between the two Adams. The loneliness of the man of faith derives from the loneliness of Adam 2 at first but it goes deeper. The loneliness derives from the conflict between the two natures of man and from the efforts of the "man of faith" to live both in the worlds of Adam 1 and 2. Soloveitchik takes his analysis to the time of mid-Twentieth Century. He finds the problem growing acute with the continued triumphs of technology -- more than once he offers the space program as an example. Soloveitchik draws a distinction between conventional religion in the churches and synagogues which he finds in danger of becoming overly-pragmatic under the spell of Adam 1. The "man of faith", of whatever denomination is a lonely figure who is rarely heard over the din and who must struggle and suffer to be understood. The book closes with a Biblical illustration of the "lonely man of faith" in the story of the calling of Elisha in I Kings, 19.

This is a thoughtful, poignant book that I had the opportunity to read almost by chance. I am far removed from Orthodox Judaism. The book describes dilemmas that many individuals will find familiar. While the textual analysis is Jewish, the problems are universal. Among other things, I found Soloveitchik's book an antidote to overly topical, overly politicized discussion in religious thought and in other kinds of thinking about the human condition. There is much to be learned from this book by "people of faith" regardless of whether that faith is theologically or even religiously based.

Robin Friedman
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5.0 out of 5 stars read through more than once!, 23 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Lonely Man of Faith (Paperback)
a very thought provoking book as relevant today as when it was written. You may need a dictionary but don.t worry because you can get the ideas without.
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Lonely Man of Faith
Lonely Man of Faith by Joseph B. Soloveitchik (Paperback - 30 Jun 2006)
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