Rabbi Meir Birnbaum is a scholar of tefillah and mashgiach of a major yeshivah. In this splendidly useful phrase-by-phrase treatment, he combines his scholarship and experience to shed light on the prayers that matter enormously to most people: the Shemoneh Esrai prayers of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Rabbi Birnbaum combs the major commentators and adds his own knowledge and sensitivity to produce a volume that belongs alongside every machzor. It is slim, but packed with information, inspiration, background ù and the ideas and intent that every serious Jew wants to pour into his Yamim Noraim prayers.
It is rare indeed to find an English-language volume that offers such a combination of clarity and depth, authoritatively presented in a down to earth manner. Rabbi Birnbaum is both a thinker and a teacher, and both those qualities are beautifully displayed in this work. Not only does he offer invaluable ideas, he is practiced in presenting them. There is nothing patronizing or condescending in this book; it reads like a good friend baring his own soul, and in the process we are swept along to join him in present our most heartfelt entreaties to Our Father Our King, on the days when He longs for us to approach Him.