Geoffrey D. Claussen

Jul 13, 2017

Sharing the Burden

Rabbi Simhah Zissel Ziv and the Path of Musar

SUNY Press 2015

purchase at In Sharing the Burden: Rabbi Simḥah Zissel Ziv and the Path of Musar (SUNY Press, 2015), Geoffrey D. Claussen provides a thorough study of the life and work of one of the most influential figures in the history of Musar, the Jewish discipline for ethical development. Simḥah Zissel (1824-1898), also known as the Alter of Kelm, uniquely combined traditional Talmud study, contemplative exercises, Musar, and general studies curricula at his Talmud Torah in the Lithuanian town of Kelm. Professor Claussen, Lori and Eric Sklut Emerging Scholar in Jewish Studies, and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Elon University, breaks new ground in tracing the development and legacy of one of Musar's great masters. This book is a welcome and needed addition to the study of the Musar movement and its seminal figures.
David Gottlieb is a PhD Candidate in the History of Judaism at the University of Chicago Divinity School. His research focuses on interpretations of the Binding of Isaac and the formation of Jewish cultural memory. He can be reached at

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David Gottlieb

David Gottlieb is the Director of Jewish Studies at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago. He is the author of Second Slayings: The Binding of Isaac and the Formation of Jewish Memory (Gorgias Press, 2019).

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