New and Noteworthy Books in Hebrew

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(יצחק טברסקי, כמעיין המתגבר: הלכה ורוח ביצירת חכמי ימי הביניים, ערך כרמי הורוביץ (מרכז זלמן שזר

Prof. Carmi Horowitz has performed an invaluable service to students of Jewish thought by gathering 31 Hebrew essays by the late Prof. Isadore (Yitzchak) Twersky, some translated from English for this volume (a few appeared originally in our pages). Among the greatest intellectual historians of the 20th century, Twersky’s oeuvre focuses on Maimonidean thought, especially the intersection of law and philosophy, alongside other topics in medieval Jewish culture and philosophy. The volume opens with Horowitz’s insightful, wide-ranging appraisal of Twersky’s as an academic, a teacher, and in his role as the Talner Rebbe of Boston, and surveys his contributions in these varied fields.

(אבי שגיא ודב שוורץ, מחויבות יהודית רב-תרבותית: הגותו של אליעזר גולדמן (כרמל

Profs. Sagi and Schwartz continue their work of delving into the thought of Eliezer Goldman, one of the 20th century’s most important Israeli philosophers, and perhaps the most overlooked. Goldman was a pioneer in the field of the philosophy of halakha, and coined the phrase (and championed the analysis of) “meta-halakha,” which aimed to show the matrix of values which serves as the basis for the Jewish legal system. Among the objects of his keen analysis explored by the authors of this volume are Saadia, Rambam, Rav Kook, and R. Soloveitchik. Religious Zionism, religious commitment in the modern world, and ethical development are major topics in Goldman’s thought which Sagi and Schwartz turn their attention to here.

(ליסה פרדמן, פירוש רש”י למשלי (האיגוד העולמי למדעי היהדות

Readers may be surprised to discover that this scientific edition of Rashi’s commentary on Proverbs (Mishlei) is the first to be published. 55 manuscripts of the commentary survive, and Dr. Lisa Fredman bases her book on the Luski (778) edition, in comparison to the other most precise manuscripts, the first incunabula editions, and more. Her annotations serve as a supercommentary on Rashi, and her introduction teases out ways that—if taken as a whole—Rashi to Proverbs presents a global portrait of what might otherwise be read as a collection of individual chapters. She also observes ways that Rashi was engaging in a type of polemic against Christianity while commenting on this biblical text. 

משה נחמני, יש”א שלום: זכרונות ודברי הערכה מהגרי”ש אלישיב זצ”ל על הראי”ה קוק זצ”ל (אור האורות, מהדורה מורחבת)

This brief book documents the long connection between R. Shalom Yosef Elyashiv and R. Avraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook—a relationship which has long been suppressed and censured by factions with the ultra-Orthodox world. Presenting many letters, documents, and photographs (some published here for the first time), Moshe Nachmani shows Rav Kook’s impact on R. Elyashiv, including connections going back to R. Elyashiv’s grandfather, arranging the visas for the Elyashiv family to immigrate to Palestine in 1922, matchmaking and serving as the rabbi at the marriage of R. Elyashiv to the daughter of the sainted R. Aryeh Levin, and more. Nachmani quotes many sources (very many anonymously) who attest to R. Elyashiv’s enduring adoration of Rav Kook.

(מכילתא דרבי ישמעאל, מהדורה לימודית מאת דן בארי (הוצאת קורן

Veteran educator, founder of the Barkai method, R. Dan Beeri, presents an edition of the Mekhilta, the midrash halakha on Exodus, in the hope of returning it to a central place in education and yeshiva study. With careful comparison of existing editions and manuscripts, translation of “foreign” words, and precise vocalization, the edition is presented with the graphic beauty we have come to expect from Koren Publishers. 

משה הלינגר, מדינת ישראל לאן? אתגרים לזהותה היהודית והדמוקרטית של מדינת ישראל ומתווה להתמודדות עמם (מאגנס)

“Where Is Israel Headed?” asks the title of this new book by Prof. Moshe Hellinger of Bar-Ilan University. His answer, weighing in at over 600 pages, explores the competing religious, ideological, and cultural visions of different shareholders in the Jewish State—from the radical post-Zionist left to ultra-nationalists and ultra-Orthodox on the right. He concludes with a programmatic essay to strengthen the Jewish and democratic identity of the State.

(ציונות דתית: היסטוריה, רעיון, חברה, כרך ד, ערך דב שוורץ (הוצאת בר-אילן

This fourth volume in a series exploring different aspects of Religious Zionism in Israel contains essays on warfare in religious Zionist thought (by series editor Dov Schwartz), a halakhic and feminist examination of women in communal leadership roles (Lea Wiesel and Meirav Kahana), and an interesting comparison of American Modern Orthodoxy and Israeli Religious Zionism (Ido Pachter), among others. The final section of the book presents archival materials from the Warhaftig Institute at Bar-Ilan, including two letters from R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik on Israeli politics in the 1970s.

Appearance here does not preclude review in our print journal or on Publishers can contact our editor to submit titles. 

[Published on July 7, 2020]

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