April 14, 2024
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Rabbi Neil Lauer Presents a New Perspective On the Shalosh Regalim in ‘The Tripod’

In reviewing the “The Tripod: A New Perspective on the Shalosh Regalim” by first-time author Rabbi Neil Lauer of Teaneck, Rabbi Haim Jachter noted, “What a magnificent work brimming with new and creative approaches to the Shalosh Regalim presented in a gentle, welcoming and creative style. I highly recommend this work as a must-read volume, the quality of which appears only once in years.The beginner as well as the advanced scholar will prosper from enjoying every minute he reads this book.”

“The Tripod,” published in 2022 by Mosaic Press, has been in the works on and off for 25 years according to Lauer. “The temporary closing of my business during the height of COVID gave me the time to organize and annotate my writings into a cohesive and coherent manuscript. For me, it was always more about the journey of working through the sugya, the topic, than reaching the destination of publishing it as a book.”

For Lauer, the “journey” takes on a second meaning unique to his process. Lauer shared, “I wish to express my hakoras hatov to the Metropolitan Transit Authority and New Jersey Transit for hosting me while I was composing this volume. In an effort to maintain a productive commute, I wrote while traveling to and from my suspender factory in Brooklyn. Not coincidentally, mass transit is reflected in some of the analogies throughout the book.”

Lauer noted that he finds “the environment of the subway and bus commute was conducive to contemplative thought. The fact that the book is a product of a workday commute rather than a Beit Midrash is reflected in its focus on an area of the Torah that is relevant and familiar to all, rather than an esoteric one.” Lauer further noted that the length of his commute is reflected in that the work is not a collection of vorts or inspirational stories but a detailed study meant to impact one’s understanding of one of the central institutions of Judaism — the shalosh regalim.

Rabbi Lauer received his semicha from Yeshiva University’s RIETS. He also earned a master’s of arts degree in medieval Jewish philosophy from the Bernard Revel Graduate School and an master of science degree in education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Yeshiva University. He is the long-serving gabbai of a local hashkama minyan and presents a weekly shiur after the minyan as well as shiurim throughout the year in numerous shuls in Teaneck.

When asked what inspired him to write “The Tripod,” Lauer shared: “For various reasons I chose a career in business over chinuch. However, in a gesture of appreciation to the many rabbeim, communal rabbis and teachers who invested so much time and effort into my development as a ben Torah, I decided to generate a return on that investment in the form of a substantive presentation of Torah thoughts.”

In explaining why he selected to write specifically about the shalosh regalim, Lauer offered, “In my sefer, I try to reach an understanding of what the Torah is trying to communicate to us in the annual Shalosh Regalim cycle. Rather than delving into lesser known sources, I focused on gaining a deeper understanding of some of the portions of the Biblical text, classical meforshim, midrashim and gemaras that deal with the three holidays. My goal was to present the reader with a deeper understanding of the sources that a person with a Yeshiva education is already familiar with.”

For Lauer, the success of his sefer can be measured in the extent that it leads the readers to consider the many messages of the shalosh regalim and their implications for one’s relationship to Hashem. “Were someone as a result of reading ‘The Tripod’ be inspired to devise an alternative approach to these holidays, I would be very gratified. Similarly, if the sefer serves to inspire someone to make his or her commute more productive, that would be a significant achievement as well.”

“The Tripod: A New Perspective on the Shalosh Regalim,” published by Mosaica Press and distributed through Feldheim, is available for purchase at local Judaica book stores and on Amazon.

By Pearl Markovitz

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