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Nishmat Ha-Bayit

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Nishmat Ha-Bayit Contemporary Questions on Women's Reproductive Health Maggid/Nishmat/OU  - 370 pp  The “Nishmat Habayit” is an incredibly impressive and urgent collection over of 60 sheilot u’teshovot related to Niddah and Taharat Hamishpacha that were authored by Yoatzot Halacha – women who have undergone extensive training in Hilchot Nidda in the Nishmat women’s seminary led by Rabbi Yehuda (z”l) and Chana (ly”t) Henkin. The sefer is divided up into the categories of pregnancy, birth, nursing, contraception, and more. The material is exceptionally well-written, clear, and appropriate for readers of all levels. After every question is presented, a brief answer is given. This is then followed by a “halachic expansion” that discusses all the sources and reasonings for the ruling, from its Talmudic origins right through to modern-day poskim. Everything is clearly explained and footnoted. While most of the rulings are extremely practical and within normative halacha, there are de

The Anatomy of Jewish Law

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The Anatomy of Jewish Law Rabbi Edward Reichman, MD Maggid/OU/YU / 564 pp An absolute jaw dropper, The Anatomy of Jewish Law is a fresh look at the intersect "between medicine, medical history, and Rabbinic Literature." I am attaching the table of contents below. But frankly, the TOC does not do justice to the amount of information and the sub-topics that are covered in each chapter. From biblical precedents to Talmudic passages, from the the Shulchan Aruch to modern day poskim, there is no more thorough or more clear work than this. Having received the sefer about a week ago, I have not yet gone through it cover to cover. However, I did not want to delay the publicization of this gem in order to ensure that others could promptly acquire their own copy and begin to enjoy it as I have. What I did read was amazing and much of it I even enjoyed reading twice. The chapter on Corona and all the halachic issues that accompanied it are presented with their historical precedents and

The Foundation of Judaism

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The Foundation of Judaism Akiva Aaronson Feldheim / 216 pp It was a nice surprise to unexpectedly receive a copy of “The Foundation of Judaism” by Akiva Aaronson. A better name for the book may have been “The Basics of Judaism” as that is what the book is entirely about. It covers the most absolute basics of Judaism such as: principles of faith, founders of the Jewish people, basic Jewish history from Creation to the current era, prayer, kashrut, and more. Originally published in 1997, the book’s style and flavor reflect its age, though its content is timeless. It is perfect for ba'alei teshuva and others with little or no background in Jewish essentials.

The Torah: Make It Personal

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The Torah: Make It Personal The Interface of the Weekly Torah Portion with Everyday Life Rabbi Herbert J. Cohen /  326 pages Rabbi Herbert J. Cohen, originally from Mt. Vernon, New York, has been a congregational rabbi and pioneering educator for over forty years, with a distinctive 23 years as Principal of the Yeshiva High School of Atlanta. He made Aliyah in 2010, and since then, it seems like he’s moved onto writing books!   In this latest release, his seventh book, I believe, Rabbi Cohen goes through each parsha and shares a personal message from each one related to his life. From his life before and after widowhood, personal relationships, the professional life of a High School principal, his children, and more, "The Torah: Make it Personal" is just that – a glimpse into the personal experiences of Herbert Cohen. There are 2-5 entries on every parsha.  The writing style is somewhat “old school” and most people under 50 might not “get” some of the references and perso

Outreach in the Torah

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Outreach in the Torah Rabbi Dovid S. Asher Mosaica / 130 pp Rabbi David Asher, rabbi of the Knesset Beth Israel synagogue in Virginia, has put together a warm and inspirational sefer on examples of outreach in the Torah. Outreach, or “Kiruv” as it is colloquially called, is the act of teaching and inspiring non-observant Jews about Orthodox Judaism. “Outreach in the Torah” brings to light examples of Kiruv in every single Torah portion. For example, on the Torah portion of Teruma there is a discussion on how even   the “Erev Rav” troublemakers were included in the communal commandment to contribute funds for the construction of the Mishkan. If the Erev Rav were included in the community how much more so should we also include those who are not fully observant. On the Torah portion of Vayikra, there is a discussion on how “korban,” sacrifices, is related to “kiruv,” bringing people closer to God. On the Torah portion of Shlach, we read how the tragedy of the evil spies was that th
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Bridging Traditions: Demystifying Differences Between Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews   Rabbi Haim Jachter Maggid/OU Press / 515pp Rabbi Haim Jachter’s “Bridging Traditions: Demystifying Differences Between Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews" is an amazing collection of customs where Ashkenazi and Sephardi practices differ. Rabbi Jachter, a well-rounded and formidable authority in halacha from Teaneck, NJ, who I have enjoyed correspondence with over the years, goes through the history of each community’s practice in each of these areas with an emphasis on the modern-day practice. He also often shows us where the respectful and healthy boundaries for each community lies.  One example which is dear to my heart, is whether a Sephardi who is praying in an Ashkenazi synagogue should recite kaddish in accordance with the Sephardic wording or with the Ashkenazi wording. As Rabbi Jachter points out, respectful boundaries and normative halacha should dictate that “when in Rome do like the Romans”

Aruch Hashulchan in English

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Aruch Hashulchan in English Orach Chaim Chapters 242-292 Edited by Rabbi Ilan Segal Translated by Rabbis: Michael Broyde, Ilan Segal, Mordechai Torczyner Urim Publications / 520 pp I am completely blown away by the English Aruch HaShulchan that was just published by Urim Publications. This outstanding volume covers chapters 242-292 of Orach Chaim, the laws of Shabbat. Specifically, these chapters primarily discuss preparing for the arrival of Shabbat, Jewish/Non-Jews partnerships, preparing the stove/oven for Shabbat (shehiya, chazara, and hatmanan), kiddush, the Shabbat meals, and more. For those less familiar, the Aruch Hashulchan is a code of law written by Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein (1829–1908). The Aruch Hashulchan is incredibly unique in that before discussing the relevant halachot of each chapter, it first cited the relevant Talmudic passages and the view of the Rishonim. Most such Rishonim are only accessible to the advanced student of halacha. With this English translatio