Truth Springs from the Earth

The Teachings of Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotsk

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Morris M. Faierstein
  • Eugene, OR: 
    Pickwick Publications
    , April
     158 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotsk (1787–1859) was one of the most interesting and challenging figures of Hasidism in the nineteenth century. His search for truth and battles against falsehood and spiritual compromise are the subject of many legends, hagiographical stories, and anecdotes. Though he was irascible and demanding, he inspired the loyalty of disciples who went on to become the dominant leaders of Hasidism in Poland from the middle of the nineteenth century to the destruction of Polish Jewry in the Holocaust. R. Menahem Mendel left no surviving writings. His descendants and disciples moved away from the radicalism of his teachings and adopted more conventional and conservative theological positions. As a result, there was little incentive to preserve and publish his teachings.

The goal of this work is twofold. First, to present a biographical study of what is known about R. Menahem Mendel that is based on historical research, instead of repeating myths, legends, and stories without regard to their historical veracity. Secondly, to collect, translate, and analyze those teachings and sayings by or about R. Menahem Mendel that are consistent with what we know about his life and teachings, and are also accessible to a broader audience.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Morris M. Faierstein is a Research Associate at the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland. His books include, All is in the Hands of Heaven: The Teachings of Rabbi Mordecai Joseph Leiner of Izbica (1989, revised edition, 2005); Jewish Mystical Autobiographies: Book of Visions and Book of Secrets(1999); From Safed to Kotsk: Studies in Kabbalah and Hasidism (2013).


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