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Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen

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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 th…

Sexuality and Jewish Law

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Remember this one?

(See http://torahbookreviews.blogspot.co.il/2016/01/sexuality-and-jewish-law.html)

Well, Yaakov Shapiro has just come out with the third edition of this work. Included in this edition is an index and an additional 15 pages of endnotes.

There is also a website relating to the book: http://www.sexualityandjewishlaw.com

My first review says it all.

Contemporary Halakhic Problems Vol. VII

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Contemporary Halakhic Problems Vol. VII
Rabbi J. David Bleich
Maggid / 525 pp.

Rabbi J. David Bleich and his “Contemporary Halakhic Problems” series need no introduction. There is no student or scholar of halacha who is not familiar with Contemporary Halakhic Problems, and in fact, one is essentially unable to formulate a credible or authoritative view on a halachic issue without first studying the issue in CHP (if, of course, the issue has been covered in the series).
My day was made with the receipt of volume 7 this week.  The newest volume opens with “Passover Questions” including a discussion on what is an annually reoccurring feud here in Beit Shemesh regarding whether water from the Kinneret may be consumed during Pesach. Presenting nine different arguments and considerations (some of which I was exposed to for the first time) Rabbi Bleich concludes that there is no concern whatsoever with consuming water from the Kinneret. In Beit Shemesh, however, the stricter view has prevail…

Making It Work

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Making It Work
A Practical Guide To Halachah In The Workplace
Rabbi Ari Wasserman
Distributed by Feldheim / 524 pp.

I'm just blown away. The "Ari Wasserman" label has simply proven itself once more as being synonymous with excellence in Torah, primarily Halachic, literature.

In this latest volume R' Ari, who should be everyone's role model of a "working Ben-Torah," presents all the thorny issues that Orthodox Jews must face in the workplace. Some of the issues dealt with include yichud, shaking hands with the opposite sex, holiday parties, dina d'malchusa dina, honesty when interviewing, entering non-Kosher restaurants, and much more. Every issue includes real-life stories, mussar, hashkafa, and of course, the halachic issues.

This book is unprecedented in it's style, presentation, and "halachic honesty," presenting all the major halachic views from all ends of the Orthodox spectrum. There may not be a more well-rounded advanced Englis…

Forgotten Giants

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Forgotten Giants: Sephardic Rabbis before and after the Expulsion from Spain
Rabbi Yosef Bitton
Gefen Publishing House / 121 pp.


Although most of us have heard about such Sephardic greats like Rabbi Yitzchak Abarbanel and Rabbi Yosef Caro, and their accomplishments, the same may not be true regarding such other greats like Rabbi Avraham Saba and Rabbi Tam Ibn Yahya.
As such, Rabbi Yosef Bitton, an author and rabbi living in New York City, has done a tremendous service and Kiddush Hashem by resurrecting the memory of over two dozen Sephardic Scholars from the pre to post Spanish expulsion Era with his “Forgotten Giants”. Although brief, but inspiring, Rabbi Bitton presents the basic biographies of these rabbis, from where they were born to the works they left behind, many of which continue to shape Jewish law today.

I would like to take this opportunity to mention --not unique to the welcome addition of “Forgotten Giants”-- that today’s orthodox produced biographies can generally not b…

Teshuva

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TeshuvaRabbi Immanuel Bernstein Mosaica Press
Just in time for the upcoming High Holiday season, Rabbi Immanuel Bernstein, maggid shiur, and author of other pristine publications, treats us to yet another installment to help us grow in Torah and Yirah in a gentle, engaging, and inspiring fashion.
In “Teshuva,” Rabbi Bernstein offers us 66 short essays covering topics related to Elul, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. The essays are all very thought provoking, covering both philosophical and practical matters. There are number of interpretations, explanations, and commentaries of routine High Holiday themes that I have not previously seen. There are also interpretations of the High Holidays prayers scattered throughout the sefer. 
The sefer is extremely enjoyable and easy to follow. It should also be noted that the essays are also easy to “give over” as divrei Torah at the Yom Tov table. In fact, the various short sub-sections of each essay are stand-alone divrei Torah in their own rig…

Moadei Harav

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Moadei Harav Public Lectures on the Festivals by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik Urim Publications / 275 pp
Rabbi Shlomo Pick’s "Moadei Harav" is a welcome and refreshing window into the thought, style, and rulings of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik. This may very well be the clearest and most readable book on the Rav that offers readers of all levels a glimpse into the world of Rav Soloveitchik's halachic teachings. Most other books on Rav Soloveitchik empathize his philosophy, and they are not always the most reader-friendly volumes.
I found almost all the essays to be practical and of great interest. Except for the entry on the status of Eretz Yisrael ("shem eretz yisrael" vs. "kedushat eretz yisrael") all essays revolve around the holidays (hence the name of the book). Some of the essays I enjoyed most are the status of Kriat Shema on Yom Kippur (a davar shebekedusha?), Pirsumei Nissa of Chanuka (the difference between “revealing” and “demonstrating” the…