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It’s All the Same to Me

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It’s All the Same to Me Rabbi Moshe Gersht Travel size / 145 pp As readers of this blog know, “self-help” books are not my genre. Nevertheless, I was very intrigued by Rabbi Moshe Gersht’s recent release for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s a self-help book written by a talmid chacham based largely, (but not exclusively!) on Torah sources. Indeed, the weave between the secular sources with the Torah ones is very impressive. Most orthodox rabbis probably wouldn't even attempt a book of that nature due to the apparent, though non-existent, taboo on combining Torah and secular sources into a single book. Second, it is a drastic genre change from his first book (see here for more about that: http://torahbookreviews.blogspot.com/2015/09/succos-inspired-rabbi-moshe-gersht.html ). As such, I wanted to give it a shot and requested a review copy. It’s all the Same to Me is a work on finding internal peace and tranquility. The book opens and spends a few chapters on the conce

Learn Shabbos...in just 3 minutes a day

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Learn Shabbos...in just 3 minutes a day Rabbi Daniel Braude Adir Press / 630 Pages Rabbi Daniel Braude presents a very user-friendly guide for learning Hilchos Shabbos in a simple manner. The sefer is divided into over 400 sections to allow  the reader to read one section, a page or two, per day. Hence the “3 minutes a day” concept. In impressive breadth, the sefer covers most of the practical questions that arise on Shabbos. This includes everything from preparing for Shabbos on Friday, to all the melachos and their practical ramifications, through to Havdalah and Melaveh Malka. All the rulings cited generally follow Shulchan Aruch, Mishna Berura, and Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasa, and are of course, normative. Lot’s of great things on medicine, Amira L’akum, Muktza, Bishul, and Borer. All the common questions and more. While this sefer is extremely useful and a blessing to those who will study from it, I would have enjoyed the sefer even more if the author would have expanded

Mikra'ot Peshutot

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Mikra'ot Peshutot Rabbi Lewis (Yehuda) Sherby Beit Shemesh (Anglo Author, Hebrew Sefer) 180 Pages      למה פרשן התורה הכי מאוחר במקראות הגדולות הוא ספורנו מהמאה החמש עשרה  למה צריכים לעיין בעוד עשרה ספרים או יותר כדי "לעדכן" את היקף הפרשנות לתורה שנכתבה במאות השנים האחרונות עכשיו אין צורך, לפחות לפרשיות שמות - וארא  ספר "מקראות פשוטות ריכז לכם -- מתחת  לקורת גג אחת -- את אברבנאל, הרב הירש, שד"ל ואחרים ביחד עם חוקרי התנ"ך מהעולם האקדמי (כמו קאסוטו) ובלי לוותר על רש"י, רשב"ם וראב"ע ושאר המפרשים הקלאסיים לתורה. ולא רק זה. בכל עמוד מופיעות השאלות על הפרשה שאליהן מתייחסים המפרשים השונים לדורותיהם מי שמעוניין בפנים חדשות של מקראות גדולות ירכוש עכשיו את הכרך הראשון של מקראות פשוטות

Ask Rabbi Jack

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Ask Rabbi Jack Rabbi Jack Abramowitz Kodesh Press / 295 pages  In his seventh publication, Rabbi Jack Abramowitz, a career educator and educational professional at the O-U, has just come out with “Ask Rabbi Jack.” Ask Rabbi Jack is a collection of well over 100 questions and answers on all areas of Judaism, Jewish law, philosophy and more. The categories include Science Fiction and Fantasy, Mashiach and the Messianic Era, Troubling Questions, Jewish History and Jewish Holidays, and even a Corona Questions section (talk about hot off the press!).  Some of my favorites thus far include the debate on who truly wrote the Zohar, interactions with the opposite sex, davening on airplanes, the lost tribes, kashrut in the messianic era, theodicy, and others. This book is, simply put, a joy to read. Not overly scholarly yet sourced, thorough yet clear, normative yet fearless. It is of use to the scholar and invaluable to the layman. I would certainly say that this sefer is to be made priority

Chanukah: Capturing the Light

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Chanukah: Capturing the Light Rabbi Immanuel Bernstein Mosaica Press / 175 pages Rabbi Immanuel Bernstein, a British born Rebbe at a number of Yeshivot in Jerusalem, has done it again  with his “Chanukah: Capturing the Light.” As the title conveys, this latest offering is intended to get us inspired for Chanukah. With sixteen chapters, including a treatment on the famous “Beis Yosef Question" as to why Chanuka is observed for 8 days if the miracle was only 7 days (they did, ultimately, find one day’s worth of oil!) Rabbi Bernstein covers all the major themes and rituals of Chanuka. Here are some of the highlights that I have already enjoyed having received the sefer less than 24hrs ago. There is a great interpretation of the “mehadrin” theme in candle lighting, a nice chapter on the special relevance Chanukah has for kohanim and leviim, the importance of gratitude, and just having come out of Parshat Lech Lecha, there is a niece piece on how the “four Kings” correspond to the fo
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The Importance of the Community Rabbi Leading with Compassionate Halacha By Rabbi Daniel Sperber Urim / 367 pp. In "The Importance of the Community Rabbi" Rabbi Daniel Sperber, whose prominence and accomplishments need no introduction, argues vigorously for today's rabbis to rule more leniently. He presents a fascinating and engaging treasury of hundreds of lenient halachic rulings throughout the ages. Rabbi Sperber argues that issues like sensitivity to people’s feelings, human dignity, "changing circumstances" and "ko'ach d'heteira" should be given more weight in halachic decision making. The precedents are there, clearly presented one after the other with seemingly no end. This book is ultimately amazing. It is one of the few halachic books of recent vintage that have kept me engaged from cover to cover. I was simply blown away by the "bekius" and variety of rulings in this book.  His arguments for leniency are power

Don't Tell Ima

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Don't Tell Ima Lisa Barness Jewish Self Publishing Guest Post by Shira Yael Klein It’s clear from the start (ok, even from the blub on the back) that the husband, Efraim, is the Bad Guy. No surprises there. This complex, compelling book pulls us into the twisted world Efraim creates and we watch as things go from bad to worse. It’s a dark, disturbing read. Interestingly, while at first the book attempts to get into Efraim’s psyche and figure out what motivates him, what core of goodness he has or at least had, it quickly moves to hammering home the message that “He can’t change. You must divorce him.” I will note that Efraim is a Bad Guy par excellence, a clear candidate for immediate divorce. There are plenty of cases where a divorce is necessary where the guy is not “as bad” as Efraim. By the same token, Shifra is a near-perfect Good Person. Her only crimes are doubting herself and not getting out fast enough. OK, once she lost her cool and smacked (a genuinely diffi