Questions tagged [books-generally]

Books, generically, as related to by Judaism

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31
votes
2answers
4k views

Abbreviations before/after names

What are the more common abbreviations one might see printed before or after a person's name, and what do they mean? Please include honorifics (R'=Rabbi) as well as memorial - or prayerful - suffixes ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Why was Torah SheBe'Al Peh not allowed to be written?

The Gemara states that it is forbidden to write down the Oral Torah ("Torah SheBe'Al Peh") [1]: דרש רבי יהודה בר נחמני מתורגמניה דרבי שמעון בן לקיש, כתיב: +שמות ל"ד+ כתוב לך את הדברים האלה, וכתיב: +...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

How does Orthodox Judaism view the Book of Jubillees

How is the Book of Jubilees regarded by Orthodox Jewry (I'm not asking if we believe it existed, but if we hold any of the information in it to be accurate). Is it ever quoted by any of the ...
15
votes
11answers
4k 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.
15
votes
2answers
507 views

Can a book with ancient text really be copyright?

Pick up your local chumash, siddur or gemara. Open it to the front page. There it is, the dreaded ©. But to me that seems quite odd. Can the text of the actual davening or talmud really be ...
15
votes
1answer
796 views

What does this pointing hand symbol mean?

I've seen in the Shulchan Aruch the hand symbol ( ☜ ) appearing quite a few times. What does it do? Does it reference to mforshim on the side?
14
votes
2answers
554 views

Would Harry Potter be killed as a sorcerer?

Before asking my question, I'd like to make it clear that this is being asked in all seriousness, and not as some form of satire or "Purim Torah". I think there is a precedent for asking halachic ...
13
votes
8answers
3k views

Good books for non-Jews who are interested in understanding Judaism, especially branches of Orthodox judaism

I have found that the first thing to do when you want to learn something about a subject, is to start with the idea that you know absolutely nothing. I understand, for example, that Judaism has ...
13
votes
2answers
4k views

Citation format for G'mara

If one is citing a g'mara in a scholarly article, what is the proper publication information to use, including title, etc.? I can't seem to find reliable examples in either English or Hebrew. This ...
12
votes
2answers
219 views

Which came first the Mishnah Torah or the Pirush HaMishnayos

Which sefer did the Ramabm author first, was it his Mishnah Torah (Yad HaChazaka) or his commentary to Mishnayos?
12
votes
3answers
724 views

How Kabbalistically accurate is the golem-making procedure described in “Niflaos Maharal”?

There's been plenty of discussion about the historic authenticity of "Niflaos Maharal", a book that appeared in the early 1900s describing how the Maharal made a Golem to defend the Jews against blood ...
11
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3answers
2k views

Reading secular books on shabbat?

Which prominent halakhic authorities permit (or forbid) the reading of secular books, magazines, and newspapers from Friday evening until Saturday nightfall? Why? Is it uvda dechol? What if it is ...
11
votes
2answers
481 views

What rabbinic/Judaic scholar has the lowest Erdős number? [closed]

From Wikipedia: The Erdős number describes the "collaborative distance" between a person and mathematician Paul Erdős, as measured by authorship of mathematical papers. ... Due to the very high ...
10
votes
3answers
696 views

Fulltext search across sources: Gemara, Zohars, Rishonim and Aharonim

I know about Hebrewbooks.org for searching for sources in books, but the problem is you have to get to let's say every Masechta to look for a phrase. Is there a program (doesn't have to be free) that ...
10
votes
7answers
396 views

Beginning a comprehensive study of Moreh N'vuchim

A friend of mine would like to begin learning Moreh N'vuchim seriously and is unsure of exactly where/with what to start. What is the best version out there of the book itself? Are there any ...
10
votes
3answers
515 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
229 views

Marcus Jastrow Dictionary Copyright

Is the dictionary that he wrote still in copyright, or has it entered the public domain? If not, who owns the rights to it?
10
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2answers
1k views

Origins of איל משולש and Vilna Ga'on's bathroom math

There is a well-known fact that the Vilna Ga'on studied math while in the bathroom since Torah was out of the question in an unclean place. It is also somewhat well-known that he produced the material ...
10
votes
2answers
359 views

Pronunciation guide by a Gerer Rebbe?

I heard from a friend years ago that one of the Rebbes from Gur (the S'fas Emes) wrote a book describing the proper pronunciation of Hebrew letters and words. I am not able to find any trace of such a ...
9
votes
2answers
686 views

Reading books about Avodah Zarah

Is it permissible to read books about Avodah Zarah? Is it permissible to read Greek mythology for informational purposes, seeing as it's not particularly tempting to anyone nowadays? Is it ...
9
votes
2answers
568 views

How historically accurate is Josephus?

How accurate is the writing of Josephus? Can we rely on any of his writings to establish authentic Jewish practices or in areas of halacha?
9
votes
1answer
164 views

Why were the prophecies of Eliyahu and Elisha not written as separate books?

The prophets during the second half of the First Temple era have their prophecies and actions recorded in books of Tanach named for them (or, as in the case of Trei Asar, in sections of a book). This ...
9
votes
1answer
388 views

Is it forbidden for a Jew to read the writings of Baruch Spinoza?

The cherem against Spinoza says the following: The Lords of the ma'amad, having long known of the evil opinions and acts of Baruch de Espinoza... We order that no one should communicate with him ...
9
votes
2answers
237 views

Publisher prohibiting purchaser from sharing

Tradition articles are downloadable from the Tradition Online website, which prohibits further distribution of the materials. On each download page there is the following warning: It is strictly ...
8
votes
2answers
215 views

Shakespeare in Classic Jewish Sources

Does anyone know of any references to Shakespeare, translations of his works, or anything related to Shakespeare in classic Rabbinic sources?
8
votes
2answers
106 views

Are there any books which specifically deal with the laws of an Aguna? Preferably in English?

I know where it is written in the Torah that a man needs to write a document for his wife in order to divorce her, but I want to know if there is a thoroughly explained book written on the topic of ...
8
votes
5answers
596 views

Is one allowed to fold the corner of a book on Shabbos?

An easy way to keep a bookmark is to fold the upper-right corner of a book (aka Dog ears) Is such an action permitted on Shabbos?
8
votes
5answers
478 views

Learning History on Shabbos

Is there a Halachic problem to read and or learn the topic of History on Shabbos for enjoyment purposes? and why?
8
votes
2answers
341 views

How to pronounce the name of the sefer “Bnei Yso(s)cher”

How does one pronounce the name of the sefer בני יששכר ? I've heard people pronounce both sins -- so it is Ysoscher. (There is also a common custom to pronounce the name יששכר with both sins the ...
8
votes
2answers
183 views

Where are these mysterious OU documents?

I was recently reading a Halachically Speaking article and noticed that in many places in the footnotes, a reference to an OU Document is made. For example: Refer to OU Document A-94 Is this some ...
8
votes
1answer
260 views

Jacob Obermeyer and Talmudic Maps?

I had seen a footnote in Socinco on Pesachim (Or, for a real reference see note on בדיתא לבאי in M.K. 11a), I do not currently remember which page but it referenced a city that was mentioned in the ...
8
votes
1answer
134 views

What is the Book of Genealogies?

The g'mara on Pesachim 62b says (Soncino translation): Rami the son of Rab Judah said: Since the day that the Book of Genealogies was hidden, the strength of the Sages has been impaired and the ...
7
votes
6answers
349 views

Dealing with anger

What is a good sefer or even book that helps people with a problem with getting angry?
7
votes
2answers
255 views

What was the font of the first printed edition of Rash"i's commentary?

In what font was the first printed edition of Rash"i's commentary on the Torah printed? Was it some "standard" Hebrew block print or something more like the type face so eponymously associated with ...
7
votes
2answers
121 views

“Hagahos MaimoniYOS”?

Is the correct title for the work abbreviated "ה"מ" "Hagahos Maimoni" or "Hagahos Maimoniyos"?
7
votes
5answers
302 views

What is your favorite haggadah? [closed]

There are many classic and modern haggadot. Any recommendations? If so, why? And if available online (such as at HebrewBooks), please provide a link.
7
votes
1answer
183 views

Torah Learning Time Calculator

I am looking for something that will take the sefer I want to learn, and the amount of time/days I want to complete it in and tell me the average amount I need to learn a day. It doesn't have to be ...
7
votes
1answer
205 views

Changing “shlit”a“s to ”za“l”s?

The name of living Torah scholar mentioned or quoted in another's book is often followed by an abbreviation of blessing such as שליט"א or נר"ו. The name of a past scholar, no longer living, is ...
7
votes
2answers
869 views

Is there a good children's parsha book that's focused on pshat, not midrash?

Is there a good children's parsha book that's focused on pshat, not midrash? Something like a Little Midrash Says, but based on just the psukim (simple verses), not all the medrish?
7
votes
5answers
325 views

Jewish alternative to a Christian self-help book

I had a bad psychological trauma some time ago and I felt the urgent need to review myself. I found that reading self-help books helped me. I tried to learn Mussar books (Mesillat yesharim, Chafetz ...
7
votes
2answers
284 views

Is using a book with letters stamped on the sides melacha (erasing) if the book wasn't closed in the first place?

A comment on this question points to the following from OU: Likewise, when words are stamped on the edge of a book (as is the case with most library books), these letters are separated when the ...
7
votes
4answers
204 views

Are there books and / or online sources that discuss how the Talmud was compiled?

There are a few aspects of the Talmud that I'm curious about: Someone compiled it. My history knowledge is poor. I understand that Rabbi Yehuda compiled the Mishna. I'm not sure who compiled the ...
7
votes
1answer
93 views

Downloading a book when you've already bought a physical copy

I'm starting college this semester, and my friends and I are discovering that some of the required books for our courses are seriously expensive. We've had some discussion about the ethics of ...
7
votes
2answers
411 views

Why can people write Torah sheBal Peh nowadays?

This is a follow up to: Why was Torah SheBe'Al Peh not allowed to be written?. The Gemara in Temurah 14b states that one may not write Torah sheBal Peh. It then states an exception that was made ...
7
votes
0answers
248 views

The status of Christian bibles nowadays

In Shulchan Aruch OC 334:21 it is established that holy scripture written by a pagan should be burnt, האפיקורסים דהיינו האדוקים בעבודת כוכבים וכן מומרים לעבודת כוכבים שכתבו להם כתבי הקודש אין ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the font with points in the middle of the letters called? [closed]

What is this [type of] font called - the kind that makes it look like every leg of every letter is a snake that swallowed a block? Where can I download such a font?
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Rambam in the Original Judeo Arabic

Any one know where I can find any of Rambam's works in the original Judeo-Arabic (preferably online and not a manuscript but an easily readable text)?
6
votes
3answers
221 views

Are there any frum comic books?

I am looking for comic books or graphic novels which depict orthodox Judaism, and teach torah lessons. I am aware of Rabbi Wein's books which are more historical, I'm looking for something that is ...
6
votes
3answers
234 views

Biography on Rav Hirsch [closed]

Anyone know of any good (i.e. non-hagiographical) biographies on Rav Samson Rafael Hirsch zt"l?
6
votes
2answers
192 views

Why is Chulin in Kodshim

Why is the Gemara (Talmud) Chulin which talks about Ritual slaughter of animals not having to do with sacrifices in the Beis Hamikdash (temple) in the SEDER (order) of Kodshim which is talks about ...