by Paul Philip Levertoff
Vine of David / First Fruits of Zion, 2009
This book is unlike any I have ever reviewed previously. The current work is a re-publishing of an out-of-print book from 1927 by a seemingly obscure author by the name of Paul Philip Levertoff. It is entitled Love and the Messianic Age. It is being published (along with an exhaustive study guide & commentary) by a new publishing arm of First Fruits of Zion, called Vine of David (www.vineofdavid.org). One of the goals of Vine of David is to resurrect Messianic voices from the last few centuries, particularly of Orthodox & Chasidic Jews who came to faith in Messiah Yeshua. Love and the Messianic Age (LATMA) is their premier release.
A brief biography of Levertoff is as follows:
“Paul Phillip Levertoff, born Feivel Levertoff, was raised in an Chassidic home. His family was Sephardic and was a descendent of Rabbi Schneur Zalman. As a child he attended cheder (Hebrew primary school) and later the prominent Volozhin Yeshiva. While studying abroad after graduating yeshiva, Levertoff obtained a New Testament. Reading it first in German, then in Hebrew, Levertoff was puzzled. The book of the Christians seemed “more his than theirs.” After this period of study, Levertoff became a fervent believer that Yeshua of Nazareth was indeed the Messiah.”1
Although a very short work, LATMA is a very thorough work comparing the mystical concepts of Chasidism to the concepts of love found in the New Testament, particularly the Gospel of John. Levertoff pulls from resources such as the Talmud, Midrash Rabbah, the Tanya, & other rabbinic & kabbalistic resources to show how the faith of Yeshua’s can be greatly enhanced by knowledge of the “mystical” concepts of Judaism. Don’t be fooled. This little book (a whopping 87 pages, which includes a 30 page prolegomenon) is no light read. Hence, the companion study guide & commentary (twice the length of the actual book) is a welcome addition for most readers.
For many people the idea of delving into the “mystical” concepts of Judaism is a bit unnerving. However, this is the beauty of LATMA. Levertoff has already “spit out the bones,” so to speak in that he only gives us that which is analogous to the concepts of our faith in Yeshua.
And, if you really would like to get the most out of this little jewel, it’s advisable to purchase the study guide/commentary along with it. It takes you nearly phrase by phrase through the book, explaining rabbinic and mystical concepts with which Levertoff takes for granted that his readership would be familiar. Mystical concepts such as the two souls of man, the weeping of the lower waters, and the divine sparks of creation are given the needed attention for the uninitiated.
LATMA is not a one-time read. If you’ve been longing for a book to really sink your teeth into, and give you lots of mileage over the years, LATMA is what your bookshelf has been missing.
- Love and the Messianic Age Release
- Book Review: The Concealed Light
- Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels Released
- Passover Haggadah Digital Download
- New Galatians Commentary