Welcome to Torah Book Reviews! Torah Book Reviews is a blog for reviews of books on all Torah related topics by Rabbi Ari Enkin. 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
Subscribe to this blog
Follow by Email
Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen
Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen
Between War and Peace
Yechiel Frish and Yedidya Hacohen
Urim / 335 pp
There may never have been, and likely never to be, a more well-rounded rabbinic
leader in the State of Israel than Rav Shear Yashuv Cohen.
Rav Shear Yashuv, who I can consider one of
my personal mentors, was a scholar, warrior, peace maker, pietist, and
community activist. Although primarily associated with the city of Haifa, a worthwhile
story in its own right, he played a role in the establishment and direction of
the State of Israel.
In this volume, readers will learn things about Rav Shear
Yashuv as never before revealed. An inspiring biography that is full of personal
accounts and testimonies, it also offers a unique angle on the establishment of
Israel in general, and the rabbinate in particular. I would also add that there
is a subtle political commentary between the lines (Does anyone know that Rav
Isser Zalman Meltzer called Rav Kook “the backbone of the entire Jewish people”
or that the Chazon Ish frequently “sang the praises of Rav Kook”?).
In addition to this being the life story of a true Gadol B’yisrael,
the book also discusses many fascinating topics related to Rav Shear Yashuv’s
life such as: the Nazir status and story of him and his father, excerpts from
Rav Kook’s life as well as other Gedolei Yisrael, life as a member of the
underground, IDF, and POW in Jordan, the story of Machon Harry Fischel, Jewish
life in Haifa, and halachic rulings rendered by Rav Shear Yashuv.
This is a wonderful book about a wonderful, and gigantic, humble
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…
I'm new to them....but I'm hooked already. Whether it is one of his works on tefilla, hashkafa, or halacha (my favorite!), every one of Rabbi Travis' sefarim is truly a "grand slam." His work is for all audiences, with his Hebrew halacha sefarim geared more to the advanced reader and rabbis. For those unfamiliar, Rabbi Travis, a close confidant of Rav Moshe Shternbuch, lives in Har Nof and is Rosh Kollel of the "Kollel Toras Chaim" halacha kollel. I am impressed by his unique style of writing and psak that manages to remain loyal to the Israeli-Chareidi approach while being refreshingly balanced by his American background. His series on prayer is exceptionally easy to read and inspiring. His most recent work "Wine and Wisdom" is the everything about wine and halacha. I enjoyed every page. His "she'ilot and teshuvot" are original, relevant, and often brave.
Indeed, I was so excited about Rabbi Travis' sefarim that I went out a…
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…