I just read and enjoyed a long piece by Rabbi Jack Simcha Cohen. The little biog attached said he was a "prolific author", but doesn't give any indication of whether all of his output has been in a similar vein (e.g. examining Modern Orthodoxy's approach to halacha).

Looking through the catalogues of online retailers, his output seems to consist mostly of collections of answers to specific questions. For example, here is a quote from the blurb to How Does Jewish Law Work?:

....provides both the answers to questions of Jewish law and a look at the process by which the answers are derived. According to Rabbi Cohen, "Halachah, the distinctly unique Jewish legal system, crystallizes the guidelines of Judaism. It makes us into Jews and marks us as Jewish. As such, an understanding of the halachic process provides insight into the inner soul of Jewish life itself."

In this book, Rabbi Cohen explores issues surrounding charity, Jewish communal concerns, repentance and rebuke, marriage and family life, rituals, Sabbath and holiday observances, and prayers.

A companion volume to his previous best-seller, Timely Jewish Questions, Timeless Rabbinic Answers, How Does Jewish Law Work? clearly presents each question and carefully details the process of finding its answer. Through explication of verses from the Torah, talmudic passages, and other sources, the reader receives the answer to the question and is also given the background information to see how a rabbi arrives at the halachic decision.

Volumes identified:

Timely Jewish Questions, Timeless Rabbinic Answers
How Does Jewish Law Work
How Does Jewish Law Work II
Shabbat, The Right Way
Jewish Prayer, The Right Way
Intermarriage And Conversion
The 613th Commandment
The Jewish Heart
Jewish Poverty Issues

Do any of these volumes have an especial reputation?

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    – Mike
    Aug 10, 2015 at 10:47
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    Please clarify with an edit to the question what you would consider a good book. There is no "general reader": some like science fiction, some like political op-eds, some like programming-language manuals, some like recipe books; some like English-language pieces, some like Hebrew-; some like succinct writing, some like verbose; some like broad, shallow coverage of a subject, some like deep coverage of a narrower subject; some like Braille; some like... well, you get the point.
    – msh210
    Aug 10, 2015 at 21:18
  • @msh210 The piece linked to is (a) by a English-speaking Rabbi (b) on the subject of halacha (c) compares the approaches of Modern Orthodoxy and Hassidim. This website is about Judaism. I am writing in English. What makes you think that any of the following are relevant to a general enquiry based on this one piece of evidence: science fiction; political op-eds; programming-language; recipe books; books in Hebrew; books published in Braille? Aug 11, 2015 at 10:26
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    @chrysanthemum You should always edit to respond instead of leaving information in the comments. Comments are subject to removal at any time, and posts can't be opened or closed based on content in the comments. Please remember this for the future. Please remember as well that product-recommendation requests need specific guidelines to match a product to in order to avoid being too subjective. Seeking a "good X" is not a good question for here. (Note you currently don't even seek "good books" but just want to know which books would be recommended to whom. Always better to be explicit.)
    – Double AA
    Aug 11, 2015 at 13:46
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    It was actually surprising difficult to find this (due to how the name is abbreviated, I think), but it seems like Amazon has an authors page for Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen: amazon.com/s/… This might help you find some of his titles. Aug 11, 2015 at 19:10

1 Answer 1


Since some information is better than no information....

Online, collected on the Jewish Book Review blog, I found several reviews of Shabbat, The Right Way, and Jewish Prayer, The Right Way. In general they were appreciative, though one or two noted places where Rabbi Simcha Cohen's conclusions were outside the flow of halachic opinion. I ordered Jewish Prayer, and found a couple of comments in the introduction which, edited down, might be useful:

In 1983 I presented the Chief Rabbi of Israel with a copy of my The 613th Commandment: An Analysis of the Mitzvah to Write a Sefer Torah. [He said] "It is wise that your first book is a scholarly treatise. Now that you have established your experise in both Talmud and Halacha with this volume, you may concentrate upon other subject matter". I never did solely concentrate on other subject matter. Halacha was always my prime area of concern .... My mission was and is to dispel the erroneous notion that Halacha is dry and not as meaningful a pursuit as other aspects of Torah learning.

After his death in the summer of 2014, The Jewish Press published this memorial profile

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