The long-awaited volume 3 of the enthusiastically acclaimed “Words of the Living G-d” series—clearly explained adaptations into friendly English of chassidic discourses, or maamarim, from the Alter Rebbe’s masterworks Torah Or and Likkutei Torah—has just been released in time for Sefer Vayikra, announced the series’ publisher, Purity Press.
“As we know, the Alter Rebbe’s major works of chassidus—in which the fundamentals of Chabad were set forth—were the Tanya and the two-volume pair, Torah Or and Likkutei Torah,” said a spokesman. “Tanya is called the ‘Written Torah of Chassidus’ because it contains everything, but in a concise format that requires profound study. Torah Or and Likkutei Torah are called the ‘Oral Torah of Chassidus,’ because they expand upon what the Alter Rebbe hinted at in Tanya, elucidating the principles of chassidus at length. This project represents the first time this important original source has been made accessible to even those with no background in chassidus, because the explanatory material interwoven into the adapted maamarim assumes no prior knowledge.”
Words of the Living G-d traces its roots back some 34 years, to when the author first began adapting the discourses for the benefit of college students. At the time, the Rebbe expressed his emphatic blessings, which are printed in the first volume. When the first 12 maamarim, on Sefer Bereishis, were published in book form in 2007, the series was endorsed as a major, groundbreaking contribution by giants of chassidic translation such as Rabbi Jacob Immanuel Schochet (of blessed memory), Rabbi Zalman Posner, and Rabbi Y. H. Greenberg. The project has been called the most important development in chassidic publishing since the translation of the Tanya in the 1960s.
“The…Tzemach Tzedek…remarked that the predictions of the coming of the Mashiach in the year 5608 (1848) alluded to the publication of Likkutei Torah,” wrote Rabbi Greenberg in his introduction to volume one. “However,” he continued, “the task of ‘drawing Chassidus down to earth’ can hardly be said to have been completed so long as its important texts remain inaccessible to those unable to study them in the original Hebrew. The adaptation of Torah Or and Likkutei Torah into clear and friendly English is therefore a monumental step, a major leap forward in the ‘dispersal of the wellsprings abroad.’”
The style of this groundbreaking work is absolutely unique, and has received acclaim from people all over the world. Rather than translating the discourses word for word, necessitating extensive footnotes and technical material—and resulting in a work still inaccessible to many—they have been conveyed in straightforward English as though one were reviewing them at a Shabbos table for guests without extensive background in Chassidus.
Explanations and background material have been seamlessly woven into the appropriate places within the text, making the profound and inspiring content unusually easy for even beginners to understand. At the same time, of course, the material itself remains true to the original discourses, and provides a faithful rendition even for those with more background who are studying them in English.
In short, the Words of the Living G-d series authentically presents the original teachings of the Alter Rebbe in a manner accessible to the broadest range of modern English readers. It is suitable for readers with yeshivah backgrounds (it has even been used by bachurim to help them understand the Hebrew maamarim), as well as for newcomers to Chassidus—indeed, newcomers to Judaism itself. For this reason, Words of the Living G-d is ideal for Chassidus classes or weekly parshah study groups, as well as for baalei batim who wish to broaden their knowledge of maamarim or prepare some authentic Chassidus for the Shabbos table. As the dust jacket succinctly remarks, “If Rabbi Schneur Zalman were teaching today, this book is what he might well say.”
Words of the Living G-d vol. 3 is available now through your favorite Jewish bookstore. Volume 1, on Bereishis, and a separate Purim volume are also available. To view a sample chapter, or if your bookstore does not yet have it, readers can visit the publisher’s website, http://PurityPress.org. For more information or for bulk orders—or to inquire about available dedication opportunities—please email PurityPress@gmail.com. And, as always, drafts of all six volumes in the series are available free on the popular website LikkuteiTorah.com (now spelled with two “k”s).