Jeffrey Saks on the Genius of S.Y. Agnon

Image for Jeffrey Saks on the Genius of S.Y. Agnon

Press play below to listen to the podcast, you can also find us on iTunesStitcher, and Spotify.

Shmuel Yosef Agnon is one of the masters of modern Hebrew fiction, who helped to spark the revival of modern Hebrew literature in Israel and around the world. His work is not only beloved, but also profound, laden with many allusions to the vast canon of traditional Jewish text that shaped his literary imagination: one hears in Agnon’s work echoes of the siddur, the Hebrew Bible, and an astonishing array of rabbinic literature. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1966.

Tikvah will soon make available a five-part, online video course introducing students to S.Y. Agnon’s short stories, novels, and anthologies, writing that strengthened the Jewish people in those pivotal 20th-century years when the state of Israel was reborn. The course is taught by Rabbi Jeffrey Saks, director of research at the Agnon House in Jerusalem, series editor of the S.Y. Agnon Library at the Toby Press, editor of the journal Tradition, and the founding director of the Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions in Jewish Education – ATID. This week, I’m bringing you the audio from the first episode of Rabbi Saks’s forthcoming video course on the writings of Shay Agnon. To register for the course, visit

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.

More podcasts: