Welcome to Torah Book Reviews! Torah Book Reviews is a blog for reviews of books on all Torah related topics. Publishers and authors are welcome to submit books, in Hebrew or English, for review on the site.
Books can be sent to me at: Rechov Nachal Dolev 31/15, Ramat Beit Shemesh, 99630, Israel. Email: rabbiari / hotmail / com
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Unlocking the Torah Text
Unlocking the Torah Text (Bereishit)
Rabbi Shmuel Goldin
OU Press/ Gefen Publishing 312 Pages
Let’s face it. The market is flooded with “Parsha Books”,
and as such, it is very difficult for a parsha book to really make an impact or
to even prove its distinction. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.
I found the needle.
I’ve commented on Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s “Unlocking the Torah
Text” series of parsha books before (see here: http://torahbookreviews.blogspot.co.il/2015/08/unlocking-torah-text.html) and his work on Bereishit, volume
one in the series, is no different.
In this volume one will tackle Genesis-related topics such
Why didn’t Joseph phone home? (My favorite)
How could Rivka instruct Yaakov to lie to his father?
Why does God test man?
Differences between Jews and Non-Jews
...and several dozen more
As usual, Rabbi Goldin does not hesitate to tackle the
controversial, and this volume contains an extra dose of issues related to
outlook and philosophy along with plenty of textual analysis and criticism.
Quality food for thought that will enhance your understanding
of the parsha.
Volumes can be purchased separately or as a box set. To order: https://www.gefenpublishing.com/product.asp?productid=148
The Spiritual Revolution of Rav Kook
The Writing of a Jewish Mystcic
By: Rabbi Ari Ze'ev Schwartz
Gefen / 270 pp
I was wildly impressed with the Spiritual Revolution of Rav Kook. After getting my hands on everything available in English over the years on Rav Kook's writings, this is the first, yes, the first, English book on Rav Kook that I was able to fully understand.
Although not a translation of any single work of Rav Kook (as most other translations are) The Spiritual Revolution of Rav Kook contains important and inspiring excerpts from all over Rav Kook's writings. The book is divided into four categories. The first is "The Individual" which contains teachings on God, Torah, prayer, Teshuva, personal growth, and more. The second is "The Nation" which includes many of his (in)famous teachings on Zionism. The third is "Humanity" which includes a chapter on our relationship with other religions. The fourth is "Creation" which is a…
Sexuality and Jewish Law
In his Sexuality and Jewish Law, Yaakov Shapiro, an ordained
rabbi and non-conformist Lubavitcher chassid, offers a thorough, unapologetic,
and uncensored presentation of everything relating to sexual activity and
All rabbinic texts that deal with sexual matters are cited along
with the interpretations and comments of all the relevant rishonim, achronim,
and poskim. There is also a full presentation of the various halachic opinions
and resolutions to the contradictions between them. The exhaustive endnotes are
essentially an additional book in their own right.
While the book is extremely well researched and impressive
in its scope, the author clearly has an agenda and bone to pick. As he writes in
the introduction, the book was born out of a bad experience and frustrations with
what he was being taught in chattan classes and the “one-sided” approach to
the laws of intimacy. The author seeks to put an end to the strain, fe…
Welcome to Our Table
Rabbi Ari Wasserman
Distributed by Feldheim / 465 pp.
Ari Wasserman has done it again! This time with a parsha sefer, a book on the weekly Torah portion. As the subtitle says, it is full of "Words of Torah, Insightful Questions and Inspiring Stories."
There are two entries on every parsha. Every entry contains a short Dvar Torah. Following the opening Dvar Torah, there is another short essay, often a story, thought, and/or practical application of the opening Dvar Torah. Finally, a question is posed that is intended to trigger the mind and the mouth. The book is made especially personable as it includes responses that the author received from guests and family when he first posed the question at his table!
Being familiar with virtually every other "Family" parsha book that is available today, I can assure readers that "Welcome to Our Table" has upped the bar and set a new standard.