Category: Book Reviews

A Guide for the Perplexed for the Modern Jew

  Jay Harris is the author of the in-depth important and enlightening book “Guiding the Perplexed of the Modern Age.”[1] It is a well-organized study of an important nineteenth-century Jewish scholar and philosopher. Harris is Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard University. Nachman Krochmal (1785-1840) lived in Galicia, Austrian Empire, which is now Ukraine. […]

An atheist’s humorous irreverent interpretation of the Bible

Jose Saramago’s (1922-2010) last book Cain is a delightful, frequently funny, heretical, mocking, feverishly anti-God, retelling of the early books of the Hebrew Bible. He is the 1998 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. According to Saramago’s book, no snake spoke to Eve in Eden and persuaded her to eat the forbidden apple; snakes […]

“The Double” is a Masterpiece

                                                                 “The Double” is a wonderful book, one of the best books that I read in a couple of years. I highly recommend it. […]

Adin Steinsaltz saves the honor of Ecclesiastes

The Hebrew volume Chameish Megillot, published by Koren Press,[1] is part of a series of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz’s commentaries on the Bible called Hatanakh HaMevoar. This volume contains commentaries to the five Megillot, “scrolls,” biblical books that are read in synagogues on five holidays; the books of Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), and […]

A famous mystic’s view of ecclesiastes

While scholars such as Rashbam, Abraham ibn Ezra, Maimonides, and others read what the Bible actually states, Nachmanides (1194-1270) read mysticism into the biblical words. According to Rabbi Dr. Charles B. Chavel, he was the first Bible commentator to do so.[1] He also explained the biblical text by claiming that certain events, behaviors, and conversations […]

My interpretation of a famous baffling story

 Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), winner of many awards for his writings, who wrote or edited more than 500 books, is considered one of the top three science fiction writers. Although his parents were Orthodox Jews, he called himself a non-observant Jew. One of his many books is “Asimov’s Guide to the Bible,” reflecting his interest in […]

Some thought-provoking ideas about Kohelet

Robert Alter is a supreme translator of the Bible in readable English and an excellent commentator of the texts. In “Wisdom Books,” his writes an introduction to, translates, and comments on Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. He tells readers that “there is little in the three biblical books that is specifically Israelite.” He notes that the […]

Another fantastic Agnon parable

“And the Crooked Shall Be Made Straight” is a brilliant book by the Noble Prize Winner for Literature, S. Y. Agnon. It is typical of his ironic style. Despite its title, the crooked is not made straight in this novel – just the opposite. The book was published in Hebrew in 1912. It was Agnon’s […]

Maimonides said what Nietzsche said

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) offers three main ideas in “The Gay Science,” written in 1882 with additions in 1887, a book called “one of his most beautiful, most idea rich books,”[1] whose title is also translated as “The Joyful Wisdom.” First, God is dead or, as I understand it, the reliance on God should cease. He […]

Senator Lieberman teaches the value of Torah law

Senator Joe Lieberman and Rabbi Ari D. Kahn offer readers fifty essays in “With Liberty and Justice.”[1] The number is built on the brilliant rabbinical idea to connect the holidays of Passover and Shavuot by instituting the practice of counting 49 days between the two holidays (changing the biblical requirement to count seven full weeks), […]

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