A Life of Torah
by Rabbi Jan Katzew
When a sage dies, everyone becomes kin.
A sage, Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, has died and once again we are all family.
You may never have met Rabbi Plaut personally, yet it is likely that he taught you Torah. He served as the editor and primary author of the first liberal Jewish commentary on the Torah. Published initially in 1981, The Torah: A Modern Commentary was a literary pioneer, leading the way for multiple contemporary interpretations of a sacred ancient text. Rabbi Gunther Plaut was a renaissance rabbi, who led congregations in Chicago, Illinois, St. Paul, Minnesota (Mt. Zion Temple) and Toronto, Ontario (Holy Blossom), a renowned teacher of Torah throughout the world and a talmid chacham, an exceptional scholar.
It seems fitting to give the final words to Rabbi Plaut, whose Torah and whose torah will continue to live. “Our commentary disagrees with traditional interpreters over divine origin and Mosaic authorship, but it does agree with them on treating the text as it is, a unified whole, for it was approached that way by many generations and in this way it has made its impact on history… to us the Bible is primarily the living textbook of the Jew…”
Baruch dayan haemet.
Editor’s note: We welcome you to post your remembrances and messages of condolence in the comments section below.