I am adding Jewish books in my library what religious books are necessary for any orthodox Jew to have?

Ive read that I should have these books

-Talmud Bavli



-Shulhan Aruch

are there any missing books that I should have?

  • 3
    The important thing isn't to have them, but to use them.
    – Heshy
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 16:41
  • @Heshy maybe both judaism.stackexchange.com/a/106696/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 16:52
  • 2
    You don't need an entire Talmud Bavli (which will run you well over $1,000) off the bat, and the full Shulchan Aruch has not been published in English translation. Get a good Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Metsora and Artscroll publish fine English translations) and if you want to start studying the Babylonian Talmud, ask your rabbi what tractate he reccomends you start with and just get that tractate. Add on more tractates as you go Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 10:08
  • It is so important at the stage that you're at to be asking these questions of a rabbi with whom you have a personal connection, who knows precisely where you are on your journey and can advise you. Don't get advice from random people online: If you want your journey to be successful, you need a personal mentor.
    – Yehuda
    Commented May 28, 2021 at 16:43

2 Answers 2


I've never quite thought of this question, as I have built my library throughout many years.

You've mentioned a few that I think are sensible, and some you've mentioned I think are "nice to have" but not "necessary" in your home. I'm qualifiying "necessary" strictly in terms of what you really need to have in your home to do "daily activities" and immediate reference for certain things.

One necessary book that you did not mention is a siddur. Unless you have memorized everything, I assume that you will be bentching at home and someone will be davening at home at some point. (Even if you never miss a single minyan, your wife or kids will probably daven at home.)

Supplemental to that, you should have a few benchers / zemirot booklets for yourself and a few extras for guests. Don't buy these, though. If you attend enough simchot, you'll have enough. If not, ask a shul or a friend for some extras. Someone is bound to have a few to spare.

Shulchan Aruch / Mishna Brurah - Hmmm. Probably good to have. But maybe not a necessity in the home. Depends what you really need to look up quickly. Perhaps, a more focused book like Shemirat Shabbat if you need to quickly find out in English an answer like, "Can I brush snow off my walkway on Shabbat?" Shulchan Aruch won't really get you a simple answer to these "modern" questions.

There are similar books more focused on Shabbat cooking such as The Shabbat Kitchen (There's a series in these works focused on different aspects of Shabbat). In my opinion, many Jews, including myself, don't know the minutiae of what's permitted and forbidden on Shabbat, because the laws are really complex. And Shabbat is an essential part of Jewish life, so you need to know.

Gemarot / Mishnah are not home necessities in my opinion, unless you plan to regularly study at home. If you are a shiur / Daf Yomi or chevruta attender, you'll find these in a Bet Midrash. (Personally, even when studying alone, I prefer to study Gemarra in a Bet Midrash. Besides less distractions, inevitably, Gemarra study requires supplemental commentaries and resources which I will likely find in a Bet Midrash.)

Lastly, Tana"ch includes "Chumash". An Art Scroll / Koren, etc. Tanac"h will have the Chumash in it, obviously. You don't need both, unles you want some portability in carrying that Chumash to shul.

  • 2
    ArtScroll's Tanach doesn't have Rashi or Onkelos though for the Chumash part.
    – ezra
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 17:48

The Artscroll Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (which includes references to the Mishna Berura and Igros Moshe where appropriate) is, in my opinion, an important work to have in your library.

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