Relating to Jewish books.

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38
votes
7answers
713 views

Did any Achronim comment on the American Revolutionary or Civil Wars?

I've heard that for instance, in the 1800s, the American rabbis in the South were pro-slavery, and the American rabbis in the North opposed to it. But what were the views towards America of the ...
25
votes
5answers
689 views

How Is It That Rabbis Have Copies of Their Own Responsa?

(I could use some help with tagging.) There are many seforim out there that are the compiled letters or teshuvos of this or that Rabbi. Those that come to mind are "Igros Moshe", from R' Moshe ...
19
votes
2answers
249 views

Why the custom to switch around negative-sounding numbers, such as שד?

Often in sefarim we find that if the number of the siman spells out something negative, such as siman 304 which has a letter value of שד, we switch it around so it no longer reads as a "bad" word. ...
18
votes
5answers
589 views

After chumashim with notes and Rashi, what's the next torah commentary I should acquire and study?

When I read the torah text (parsha or otherwise) I currently use a couple of chumashim with notes, and Rashi. I know some Hebrew but am not fluent. I'm ready to stretch beyond what I'm reading now ...
17
votes
3answers
305 views

Anonymous glosses in the Shulchan Aruch

The Rama wrote a series of glosses to the Shulchan Aruch to reflect standard Ashkenazi practice, as the Shulchan Aruch was weighted towards the Sephardim. These glosses have been reprinted in almost ...
16
votes
4answers
508 views

Why is Sha'ar Ha'Yichud of Chovos Ha'Levavos so “controversial”?

I have heard that Sha'ar Ha'Yichud of Chovos Ha'Levavos is controversial, and that one needs a rebbe in order to learn it. What does the author say that is so difficult to understand?
16
votes
2answers
446 views

Halachot of Shul Mechitzas

What are some good books, articles, websites, or seforim for learning about the Halachot of constructing and maintaining a Shul Mechitza (the barrier between the men and women sections)? Issues ...
14
votes
2answers
364 views

Stacking Seforim

Are we allowed to place less holy seforim on top of more holy seforim? I believe that the consensus is that you are only allowed to stack seforim in chronological order from top to bottom (e.g., ...
14
votes
3answers
248 views

Which books help one acquire a systematic understanding of Biblical Hebrew grammar?

A question for the grammar experts. How can I learn Hebrew grammar in a systematic way? Especially a book that would help me understand how to layn properly. Something that covers rules of nikkud, ...
13
votes
3answers
228 views

Grammatical function of Emet te'amim?

The Emet books (Iyov, Mishlei, Tehillim) have a cantillation system that is not used elsewhere in Tanach. In addition to the use of cantillation marks not found elsewhere (iluy, ole, dehi, geresh ...
12
votes
1answer
277 views

Bringing wallet with benscher into bathroom

If someone has one of the small "pocket benschers" that slide into his wallet, is it a problem for him to walk into the bathroom with his wallet in his pocket?
11
votes
6answers
308 views

Is there a good visual companion to Tanach?

I'm looking for a visual companion to Tanach, i.e. maps, charts, and timelines. So when I'm learning Sefer Yehoshua, for example, I can see maps that chart the various battles and such. Are there any ...
11
votes
11answers
2k views

Where can I buy inexpensive seforim online?

Where can I buy seforim online for inexpensive prices? I mean real seforim.....not digital ones. I'm willing to buy seforim either new or second-hand.
11
votes
4answers
456 views

What is a good mussar/personal growth sefer for women?

Most mussar sefarim are very oriented towards men, with lessons on things such as how to treat your wife, the dangers of pursuing women, or the importance of learning. Also, many sefarim I've seen ...
11
votes
4answers
241 views

Why does the authorship of the Zohar matter?

I've seen and heard a lot of controversy about the authorship of the Zohar, but it isn't quite clear to me that it matters. The nearest theory I can come up with is that if the Zohar is by Rashbi, ...
11
votes
1answer
190 views

Can one follow the Mishnah Berurah without asking a shaila?

When one has a question in halacha and finds an answer in the Mishneh Berurah (or Aruch HaShulchan, or similar work), why can he follow the answer provided? Why doesn't he need to ask his rabbi first? ...
10
votes
3answers
544 views

What are the authoritative Jewish documents?

When I'm reading through answers on this site I often see users make references like - Baba Batra 75A Or Chagiga 12A I don't understand what these mean. What are the documents that ...
10
votes
2answers
121 views

Why didn't the Tur discuss traditional Jewish philosophy?

Of all classical works of Halacha, only the Rambam has a section dedicated "Hilchos Deos". For example, he begins with the most fundamental Jewish belief, the belief in one G-d, that G-d is the ...
10
votes
3answers
254 views

Halachic authority of books

To what extent do books on Halachah have authority? I was taught that the Gemara was "closed" and may no longer be challenged in terms of its Halachic authority. To what extent is this authority ...
9
votes
2answers
387 views

Starting a Jewish Library

What Jewish Religious books should one consider when starting a Jewish Library in their home? A set of Shas (Talmud)and the Shulchan Orech (Code of Jewish Law) are the obvious ones, What else should ...
9
votes
1answer
167 views

Interrupting in the middle of Shmona esrei

Am I allowed to interrupt in the middle of Shmona esrei in order to pick up a Siddur (or any other holy book) that has fallen to the floor? Same question, if I have to make some steps in order to pick ...
9
votes
1answer
133 views

layout of the Gemara

When was the current pagination of the Gemara finalized? It seems that it was before the Vilna print, though it seems from different Acharonim (the Rama, etc.) quoting the Mordechai that the Mordechai ...
9
votes
2answers
114 views

Who was the קדוש מרדוש?

Today, in a shiur, I heard someone quote an opinion of the "קדוש מרדוש" (pronounced "Kadosh Meradoosh", I think). The Bet Yosef in E"HE 35 seems to quote the מרדכי who quotes him, so apparently he's a ...
9
votes
2answers
155 views

Why is the Tetragrammaton vowelized in Siddurim and in Sefarim?

I've often found that the Tetragrammaton (Shem Havayah) is often vowelized in siddurim and sefarim. Since we b'davkah don't say the Shem Havayah how it is spelled, why are the vowels included? Also, ...
9
votes
2answers
119 views

What is the provenance of Maseches Sofrim

Who wrote Maseches Sofrim and when did he live. Is it accepted by everyone? The Rashba in Brachos 34a writes that is one of the minor masechtes that were authored by the early sages. He reiterates in ...
8
votes
1answer
77 views

Hamaor Hagadol vs Hakatan (books)

R. Zerachiah ha-Levi composed a comentary on Rif, named "Sefer Hamaor". Why is it split into "Hamaor Hagadol" (on Noshim and Nezikin) and "Hamaor Hakatan" (on Zroim, Mo'ed and Chullin).
8
votes
1answer
142 views

Who invented the Mikraot Gedolot?

Whose idea was the Mikraot Gedolot and when was it first published? Mikraot Gedolot is a Humash with a collection of commentaries very popular in Jewish circles today.
8
votes
1answer
165 views

How was the Shaalos Utshuvos Min Hashamayim allowed to do what he did?

The Shut Min Hashamayim was written by a Rishon in the time of Tosfos. He used to ask questions from Shamayim (Heaven) in a Sheilas Chalom (Dream Question) and write the answers down. Many of those ...
8
votes
1answer
117 views

How commonly used are manuscripts in psak?

How Halachically valid are recently discovered manuscripts? For example, if one found the original manuscript of the Rambam and he rules differently than the currently known text, do modern Poskim ...
7
votes
4answers
179 views

Where can I find Prenumeraten/Prenumeranten?

A few years back I found an on-line source for "prenumeraten." Just to enlighten those who don't know, before a sefer was published years ago, it would seem that feelers were sent out to find out who ...
7
votes
4answers
106 views

Can anyone help me find resources for the content and organization of a shul library?

Our shul library has been neglected for many, many years, and b'h' we are finally cleaning and organizing it. I am used to using a library, not organizing it! So I wonder if anyone can give me some ...
7
votes
2answers
353 views

Traditional review of Heschel's “Torah min HaShamayim”

"Torah min Hashamayim B'aspaklariya shel Hadorot" (תורה מן השמים באספקלריה של הדורות) was written by R' Abraham Joshua Heschel and published by Soncino Press and JTS Press in 1962. It was translated ...
7
votes
3answers
321 views

Which masechtot don't really have Rashi?

I often hear that the printed "Rashi" commentary in certain masechtot of the Talmud Bavli (first that come to mind are Moed Katan and Nedarim) is not actually written by Rashi. Does anyone have a full ...
7
votes
2answers
93 views

How large is a typical contemporary hagada commentary?

In a contemporary published hagada with commentary, how many total words does the commentary typically comprise? (For comparison, "Hagada - Mi Yodeya?", in its current form, weighs in at about 14,000 ...
7
votes
1answer
195 views

List of all the Seforim Software

I'd like to compile a list of all the computer programs out there that people can use for learning/reading seforim with. There are many of them now a days (and perhaps were some in the past that are ...
7
votes
1answer
148 views

Why is the Shulchan Aruch definitive?

Why do we (almost all Jews) consider the Shulchan Arukh, not written until the 16th century, to be the final word on halakha? Our halakha is derived from Torah Shebikhtav and She'be'al Peh. SA ...
7
votes
1answer
58 views

What is Sha'arei HaAnavah?

Rabbeinu Yonah (Sha'arei Teshuvah 1:24) mentions "Sha'arei HaAnavah". What is this? I have never seen a book by that name attributed to him.
7
votes
1answer
192 views

Sefer Milhamot Hashem - from Bamidbar 21:14

Does anyone know of any discussion of the the "sefer Milkhamot Hashem" mentioned in Bamidbar 21:14? Someone had asked me about the content of the book and I had no idea of what to answer him.
7
votes
1answer
109 views

Halakha book for modern working place

Is there a halakha book providing the guidance rules for proper behavior at a modern working place? I mean not only relatively obvious "halakhot yekhud" or "kashrut" but taking into consideration ...
7
votes
1answer
181 views

Good Talmudic Grammar resource for one unfamiliar with grammar in general?

Inspired by: How to say Adonainu Moreinu VeRabeinu in Aramaic I'd like to understand Talmudic/Aramaic Grammar a little better and am looking for a good resource that will break it down for me. ...
6
votes
7answers
454 views

Sefarim to learn in Elul

Which sefarim are traditionally learned in Elul*, because they have a special significance to the mood and message of the month? *Or even without a tradition, which sefarim are good to learn during ...
6
votes
3answers
312 views

Uncensored Mishneh Torah

Where can I find the uncensored Mishneh Torah online, or cheap in print?
6
votes
4answers
456 views

Why is the Mesillas Yesharim so popular and accepted?

To overgeneralize, I bet there is a copy of the mesillas yesharim in almost every orthodox home, shul and beis medrash. I'm wondering why this work is so popular and accepted. My wondering is ...
6
votes
5answers
223 views

Sefer similar to Yalkut Yosef for Ashkenazim

Yalkut Yosef is a revolutionary work for the Sefardic world. He covers every aspect of practical Halacha as understood by his father Hacham Ovadia (who mostly follows the Shulchan Aruch) and applies ...
6
votes
2answers
422 views

Pronunciation of משנה הלכות

Are R' Menashe Klein's volumes of responsa pronounced "Mishna Halachos" or "Mishaneh Halachos"? Can someone provide the grammatical explanation please?
6
votes
2answers
272 views

Siddur & chumash — which gets stacked on top?

I've seen this one asked over and over again, and always heard different things. Do you stack a chumash on top of a siddur, or the other way around?
6
votes
6answers
184 views

Books on the Existence of G-d?

I was wondering if anyone would be able to recommend to me books from a Jewish perspective on the existence of G-d. Something along the lines of proving G-d's existence. I would prefer an evidentiary ...
6
votes
2answers
147 views

Why does Tanya list editions?

Every edition I've seen of Tanya includes a list, in chronological order, of every edition of Tanya ever printed. For each edition, bibliographic information is included: the publisher, the city and ...
6
votes
1answer
202 views

Sefer Besamim Rosh

Who wrote the Sefer Besamim Rosh?
6
votes
2answers
296 views

What's the history of Hekhalot/Heichalot/Heikhalot literature?

There is a field of study, which focuses on the Hekhalot literature. However, the internet gives conflicting information about them. For example, some state that they were written by the early ...