Questions tagged [jewish-books]

Books about or of Judaism

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63 votes
9 answers
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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 more-...
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29 votes
5 answers
948 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 ...
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25 votes
9 answers
2k 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 ...
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22 votes
1 answer
538 views

Deleted attacks on the Shulchan Aruch in Pri Chadash

The bibliography in the English Me'am Lo'ez haggadah says of Pri Chadash that it "often strongly attacks the opinions of the Shulchan Aruch. Its strongest language was deleted from later editions." ...
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22 votes
2 answers
346 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. ...
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21 votes
5 answers
3k views

What are the essential books which every religious Jew should own? [closed]

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 ...
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21 votes
1 answer
3k views

Which sections of Igros Moshe are in which volumes?

In Igros Moshe, the classic compilation of responsa by R' Moshe Feinstein, each of the published volumes contains one or more collections of numbered responsa, each concerning a specific area of ...
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20 votes
5 answers
1k 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?
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20 votes
4 answers
714 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 ...
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19 votes
1 answer
522 views

When did usage of "Hashem" to refer to G-d gain traction?

It seems as though virtually all seforim (especially those written by Acharonim and earlier) refer to G-d as either Hakodosh Boruch Hu or Ribono Shel Olom, and never as "Hashem." Similarly, I don't ...
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18 votes
3 answers
660 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 ...
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18 votes
2 answers
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Halachot of Shul Mechitzot

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 ...
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18 votes
6 answers
2k 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, ...
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17 votes
3 answers
1k 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., ...
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17 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
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17 votes
5 answers
2k 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 ...
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16 votes
12 answers
5k 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.
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16 votes
6 answers
739 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 ...
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16 votes
2 answers
561 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?
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16 votes
1 answer
332 views

Where can I find the radio program of יחוה דעת?

The books called יחוה דעת were authored by Rabbi Ovadya Yosef. In the title page, it states that these books are essentially transcriptions of a radio show called פניני הלכה, with small additions. ...
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15 votes
3 answers
866 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 ...
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14 votes
5 answers
2k views

Why does it seem like Jewish texts are never translated?

I'm a Stack Exchange user on many other sites and every once in a while I will see a question on this site that sparks my interest in the hot questions. The only two things I know about Judaism ...
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14 votes
1 answer
400 views

Magid Mesharim: How is it that the angel knew Aramaic?

There is a book called "magid mesharim" written by Maran Bet Yosef in Aramaic through the exact words of an angel. My issue with this is that we learned from some Gemaras (Shabbat 12b is one) that ...
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13 votes
4 answers
2k 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 Judaism ...
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13 votes
3 answers
775 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, ...
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13 votes
2 answers
390 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, ...
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  • 3,854
13 votes
1 answer
442 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? ...
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11 votes
7 answers
1k views

Recommendation for learning Hilchos Shabbos with family

I am looking for a sefer to use to learn Hilchos Shabbos at the Shabbos table. I used to use Orchos Shabbos, but I found that while I enjoyed it and got a lot out of it, the rest of my family had a ...
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11 votes
1 answer
3k views

Meaning of the phrase "all Holy Scripture defile the hands."

I'm sorry if this question is too basic (I'm really impressed with the learned people answering questions on Mi Yodeya!). I was reading about the Council of Jamnia on Wikipedia: https://en....
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11 votes
1 answer
266 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 ...
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11 votes
2 answers
370 views

Jewish view on the extra text included in the LXX (and by some Christians) in the book of Daniel?

The book of Daniel, as found in the Tanach consists of 12 chapters: 1 and 8-12 in Hebrew and 2-7 in Aramaic. This contains the familiar Daniel story and his four visions. Catholic and Orthodox (but ...
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  • 587
11 votes
3 answers
176 views

How can private letters be published?

Rabbeinu Gershom issued a Cherem (ban) on unauthorized reading of private letters. I would like to know how books which contain private correspondence or sh'elos us'shuvos between Rabbis and other ...
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11 votes
2 answers
422 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 ...
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  • 5,957
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Deleting files containing G-d's Name / taking the host device into the bathroom

Is there any issue regarding deleting electronic files with G-d's Name in them? Also, is there any issue with taking such a device into the bathroom?
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11 votes
2 answers
228 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 ...
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11 votes
1 answer
504 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 ...
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11 votes
1 answer
839 views

Machon Yerushalayim Shulchan Aruch vs. Habahir Edition

Can someone who has knowledge of both explain the difference- other than price and space- between Machon Yerushalayim Shulchan Aruch and Habahir Edition. I currently use the Habahir and am happy with ...
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11 votes
3 answers
510 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 ...
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11 votes
1 answer
487 views

What are the origins of the תושלב"ע prayer at the end of holy books?

When I finished the Book of Bereishit this Shabbos, the Tanakh I was reading concluded with this prayer: תם ונשלם תהילה לאל בורא עולם (Finished and completed. Praise to G!d, Creator of the Universe.) ...
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  • 1,497
10 votes
7 answers
1k views

Looking for a sefer to help prepare for smicha

I am currently learning hilchos taaroves and will soon be moving on to basar bechalav and melicha etc. in preparation for getting smicha. I have looked around and found countless (literally countless) ...
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  • 9,359
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Resources for teaching chassan classes

I am looking for books that deal primarily with the halachos in Orach Chaim siman 240 and Even HaEzer siman 25. Due to the nature of the content it seems that the world has been reluctant to put out ...
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  • 9,359
10 votes
4 answers
446 views

What's a good beginner-friendly collection of aggadah in English?

A friend with a secular background is now becoming more connected with Judaism (yay!), and has told me she finds the aggadic stories that fill in the gaps in the torah to be particularly helpful. (...
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10 votes
3 answers
609 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 ...
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  • 161
10 votes
1 answer
280 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 ...
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  • 6,004
10 votes
4 answers
343 views

Is there an Orthodox publication of the book(s) of the Maccabees?

I would like to know if any Orthodox publisher has put out a version of the book(s) of the Maccabees.
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10 votes
2 answers
784 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 ...
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  • 28.1k
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

List of all the Seforim Software [closed]

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 ...
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  • 15.6k
10 votes
1 answer
240 views

Who is the author of the Pirush on the first four chapters of Rambam's Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah?

The first four chapters of Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah have a lengthy commentary that is titled simply "פירוש". In standard editions of the Rambam, it wraps around the text, facing the "כסף משנה" (see ...
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  • 5,485
10 votes
1 answer
156 views

What was censored in Sefer HaChinuch?

While reading Reb Yaakov (page 191), the following line caught my eye: The Sunday morning shiur...Reb Yaakov finished...the uncensored version of Sefer HaChinuch What could this be referring to? I ...
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  • 18.4k
10 votes
2 answers
259 views

Judaism and dementia

Are there any books/articles that discuss dementia from a Jewish perspective? I am looking for a perspective that include coping with, and relevant hashkafa. The intended audience being not the sick ...
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