Category: Book Reviews

A new siddur with Rav Kook’s commentary

Koren Press, a prestigious publishing house, has published “The Koren Rav Kook Siddur.” Rabbi Abraham Isaac haKohen Kook (1865–1935) was the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of the British Mandate for Palestine He was the founder of the Religious Zionist Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav. He was a Torah scholar, a decider of halakha (Jewish law), a mystical […]

God’s Command: Exercise

Michael Kaufman’s “Am I My Body’s Keeper?” is an important lifesaving book. He states that the Bible tells people to exercise and do other acts to assure their health. God did not create humans to sit and deteriorate. The book is easy to read. It focuses on the Jewish view toward taking care of our […]

Aharon Appelfeld “one of the best novelists”

Aharon Appelfeld, author of more than 40 books in Hebrew, winner of Israel Prize and other prizes, died last week on January 4, 2018 at age 85. The noted critic Irving Howe once wrote that he “is one of the best novelists alive.” Here is a summary of several of his tales.   To the […]

The anti-Orthodox views in the biblical book Ecclesiastes (Qohelet)

Ecclesiastes is a controversial book. It has radical ideas that are contrary to today’s Orthodox Judaism. It contains verses that seem to contradict other verses.[1] The opening two verses and at least half of the final twelfth chapter were added to the book by an editor apparently with an attempt to make it fit better […]

Rashi’s grandson’s commentary of Ecclesiastes

Sara Japhet and Robert B. Salters, two highly respected scholars’ editing and translation of Rashbam’s commentary on Qoheleth (also spelt Kohelet, Ecclesiastes in English) is excellent. Rashbam was one of Jewry’s most supreme rational Bible commentators, part of a trio of top Jewish medieval rationalist, along with Maimonides and Abraham ibn Ezra. He was the […]

A mystical view on immortality, resurrection, and the age of the universe

  Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan (1934-1983), the author of the mystical book “Immortality, Resurrection, and the Age of the Universe,” was an American Orthodox rabbi who was acclaimed for his many books, about fifty in all, his knowledge of physics, and Jewish mysticism. He worked initially as a physicist, but in 1965, when he was around […]

Moti the Mouse and the True Miracle of Chanukah

Some years back, my daughter Leba Lieder and I wrote a children’s book with drawings about a mouse and Chanukah. Here is the story without the drawings.   Moti the Mouse and the True Miracle of Chanukah                                        By                                 Leba Lieder                                      And                 […]

The book the rabbis loved but rejected from the Bible

  The book “The Wisdom of Ben Sira” was composed around the year 180 BCE by Yeshua ben (son of) Eleazar ben (son of) Sira, about a decade before the 167 BCE onset of the Chanukah story. It is a book that the rabbis did not include in the Hebrew Bible despite respecting it immensely […]

Current Judaism is unlike what the Bible demands

In his very informative 1928 book “Adjustment of Law to Life in Rabbinic Literature,” Solomon Zucrow, shows, as did many others, that current Jewish law is radically different than what is stated in the Hebrew Bible. Many Orthodox Jews say that the differences were ordered by God, that when God revealed the Torah to Moses, […]

The Torah requires orthopraxy not orthodoxy

  Jeffrey Radon’s easy to read book “Reconciling A contradictory Abraham” introduces readers to an orthoprax view of Judaism, an approach held by many ancient Jewish sages. Orthopraxy is not a water-downed Judaism; Radon is a practicing Jew. Orthoprax Judaism stresses that the Torah contains no philosophy, no system of beliefs, and no requirement to […]

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