I am looking to delve into the teachings of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1903-1993). Any recommendations on a good starting point?

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    @intuit, Welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks for bringing your question here! As the others have pointed out, your question will be more answerable if you specify it a bit more.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 16:55

9 Answers 9


Although I personally have not read his works, I have a number of friends who were inspired by The Lonely Man of Faith. Additionally, Halachic Man seems to be a must read. Although chronologically Halachic preceded Lonely by a couple of decades, Lonely is more fundamental.

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    This is, of course, assuming that @intuit is interested in R' Soloveitchik's philosophical teachings. If, though, he is more interested in R' Soloveitchik's Talmudic methodology, this certainly would not be the place to start.
    – jake
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 18:20
  • I am interested in his philosophical teachings.
    – intuit
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 19:21
  • I was privileged to attend a chabura on LMoF. It is awesome, but I needed the initiation in 20th-century theology, the background of the sefer, and RYBS's basic conceptual framework to really get the most out it.
    – yitznewton
    Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 22:39
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    Also: Abraham's Journey is wonderful.
    – yitznewton
    Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 22:39
  • Halachic Man seems to call for some grounding in philosophy, just FYI. (I tried and failed; I hope to try again later.) I haven't read Lonely Man of Faith. I've heard good things about both of these. Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 14:59

I'm no scholar of the Rav, but I found the Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur Machzors and the Haggada based on his teachings to be eye-opening introductions to his oeuvre. They're full of references to his other published works, so if you see a passage you find particularly interesting, you can follow it up by studying the work it was excerpted from.


The Bergen County Beis Medrash has lots of Audio Shiurim from Rav Soloteitchik. That may be a good place to start.

There are also 164 of the Rav's shiurim available for download here. (linked to from here)


In my opinion the best place to start is Here:

The Rav Thinking Aloud on the Parsha

It is simpler then the other books that have some heavy philosophy and language. They are cross referenced to his other books so if you like an Idea you can find it and the person who wrote it was a close talmid. Plus it is on the Parsha so it makes it very usefull.If you want the Plain The Rav Thinking Aloud not on the Parsha it has most of his viewpoints on the important issues and it is an easy read

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    I'd have to recommend against this book, as it publishes conversations which were recorded without the permission of the Rav, and published against the explicit requests of all his living descendants.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 15:44
  • @DoubleAA Rav Mordechai Willig; a close disciple of Rav Yoshe Ber, openly qoutes from the book Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 9:47
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    @DoubleAA do you have a source that the family made a request not to publish and the author went against that request? Or do you mean it was not authorized i.e. Post facto disapproval with the publication? Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 9:53
  • @Nafkamina I don't know why any of that matters.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 16:05

I think the first one I read was קול דודי דופק, both very deep and very readable at the same time, a nice introduction to his way of writing, and philosophical methodology.

@YDK's suggestions of Man of Faith and Halachic Man are also good to go with.


I recommend two books in particular:

Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, The Rav: The World of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (2 vols; ed. Joseph Epstein; Ktav Publishing House, 1999);

Reuven Ziegler, Majesty and Humility: The Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (Urim Publications, 2012).


There is a 16-part audio web series from Web Yeshiva given on the Lonely Man of Faith taught by Rabbi Jeffrey Saks. you can download it from here: http://www.yutorah.org/search/?s=lonely+man&series=4191 Give's a nice introduction to Rav Soloveitchik's teachings.


I strongly recommend Halakhic Man. (Some say to skip the first 40 pages. From what I have heard, people find them very tedious, as it is just a preface to the piece, and Rav Yoshe Ber uses very large words with which most people are unfamiliar, but after roughly the first 40 pages he actually gets to the premise of the essay.)

In it he describes and elaborates on the worldview and persona of the great halachists of the past. And how their approach and thought process differs from other personalities in their relation to G-d and the world he put us in.

Largely he sets down the philosophy of his family; the Soloveitchiks, and their approach to halacha and their mindset.


I know this is 12 years late but Ohr Publishing has been doing a fantastic job at subtitling the Rav's famous lectures. Here's the link to their YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/@ohrpublishing-videosofravs1355

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