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Torah IQ: The Great Torah Riddle Book By David Woolf SC/400 pp I was really excited to get a copy of David Woolf’s “Torah IQ: The Great Torah Riddle Book.” David (and Fran!) Woolf have been a leading Toronto name in everything related to tzedakah, chessed, and especially, kiruv, since before I was born. In fact, my first ever time spending Shabbat overnight in a “stranger’s” home as a Jewishly/religiously "exploring" public-high school teenager was at the Woolf home, thanks to their daughter Zahava who had befriended me and had gotten me further interested in Judaism than I had been. So back to the sefer. Torah IQ is a sefer full of riddles and brainteasers. Most of the sefer follows the parshiot of the Torah. For every parsha there are about 20 brain twisting, brain teasing, trivia questions. The answers are given on the next page. Following the parsha section is a section on “General Torah Questions”. Following that there is a section on “Halacha and Minhag” (my favorite!

Incredible Insights – Inspiring Insights on Unique Torah Topics

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Incredible Insights – Inspiring Insights on Unique Torah Topics Rabbi Yehoshua Alt / 310 pages In yet another installment of his unique sefarim, Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, a Torah teacher based in Jerusalem, sent me a copy of his “Incredible Insights – Inspiring Insights on Unique Torah Topics.” Faithful to its title, there are dozens and dozens of entries ranging from one to ten pages on lesser-known and lesser-thought of topics. Every chapter contains insights from the entire spectrum of Torah texts and there are many stories and anecdotes from Gedolim and Tzadikim. Some of the chapter topics include: what the future is going to look like, the importance and effects of Torah study, defining Judaism, a chapter all about fish, mikva, prayer, and so much more. Too many topics to list! My favorite chapter is the one on proper eating and healthy lifestyle which is so neglected in our community (there are actually at least two such chapters). The book is nicely compiled and sure to teach read

A Concise Guide to Halakha

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A Concise Guide to Halakha Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz Maggid / 640 pages I was very excited to receive the new, “A Concise Guide to Halakha” by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. This one volume encyclopedia is essentially divided into five sections: Life Cycle, Holidays, Shabbat, Daily Routine, and “Other”. An example of the entries include birth, bar mitzva, weddings, death, all the holidays, kashrut, family purity, and charity. Each chapter deals with its topic by giving background information, basic requirements, common customs and the prominent prayers that are recited on the occasion. All the prayers are transliterated, which could come in handy, say, if someone would like to recite the Shabbat Kiddush in the original but doesn’t have the Hebrew reading skills to do so. The book is crisp and clear and is esthetically appealing. While this volume is truly lovely and worthwhile, I have to admit that by the sound of the title, I thought that it would be more of an immersion and focus o

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