21

The Commentary on the Mishnah came first. In his colophon at the end of it, Rambam writes that he began writing the commentary at age 23, and finished it at age 30, in the year 1479 of the "Era of Documents" (4928 since Creation, 1168 CE). The Mishneh Torah, on the other hand, was written in the 4930s. In the introduction he says that the current year is ...


20

The Bar-Ilan Responsa project has an online version that allows free searches, displaying up to 150 words from each result. This is an extremely powerful program, as its textbase is "clean" and edited, as opposed to many other search programs (such as Hebrewbooks and Otzar HaChochma) which are mostly based on error-prone, OCR-derived text.


15

In Orach Chayim, it refers to a comment by the Yad Efrayim, in the margin. The Business Halacha Institute tells me that in Choshen Mishpat it points to a chidush [a novel thought or opinion].


14

The Midrash (Exodus Rabbah 47:1) says that one reason was to maintain one portion of the Torah as a uniquely Jewish possession. The gentiles have the written Torah (ever since, under order of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, it was translated into Greek, and later into other languages); but so long as the Oral Torah remained orally transmitted, it was unavailable to ...


12

There are several factors to be considered to determine whether or not Harry Potter would be liable to prosecution under the witchcraft clause. Is he Jewish? Regarding his Jewishness, as noted the evidence suggests he is Christian, although this does not preclude him from theoretically being descended from Jews (especially given Rowling's statement that ...


11

According to Wikipedia, Jubilees was written in the later Second Temple era, well past the cut-off date for canonization in the Tanach. It was adopted by the Hasmonians (Chashmonaim), but despite the general Rabbinic dislike of the Hasmonians, it is not mentioned at all by "Pharisaic or Rabbinic sources," eg. the Mishna. Since the book was not canonized in ...


10

I was, for a while, unofficially in charge of my synagogue's library, and we had it organized as follows (as well as I can recall). The guiding principle was that things should be where people will look for them. Sidurim for daily use had their own section. (Sections, really, in more than one place in the room.) The non-standard ones, not used by most ...


10

Rashi in Pesachim 56a writes that Sefer HaRefuos was hidden because their hearts were not humbled over their illness but were, rather, healed immediately. Rambam in Peirush Hamishna (Pesachim 4:10) rejects this approach arguing that just as one may not hold back food from the hungry, so too one may not withhold healing from the ill. Instead, Rambam writes ...


9

In those cases, the copyright would apply to the refinements made to the text as a result of the publisher's research. For example, if you want to publish a sefer you cannot just grab the text from the Bar Ilan disk, since they put much effort into correcting the mistakes and expanding the abbreviations, etc. If, however, a publisher is just copying an old ...


8

Abarbanel discusses why all nevuos, including those of Yeshayahu, Yirmiyahu, etc., are not written in their historical context in Melachim or elsewhere. For that matter, why a separate book for Tehillim and Mishlei? Why not just include them with the stories of David and Shlomo? I will not post his entire discussion here, but the gist of it is twofold: It ...


8

The only question that I'm going to answer directly is number 2, since I heard directly from my Rebbi that it is 100% permissible (unfortunately, I can't quote it in his name since I didn't get his permission to use his name on this site, but I'll say that he's a well respected Musmach from Yeshivas Chafetz Chaim). He said that given the limited number of ...


8

Yes. Here is a page from Eichlers full of Jewish comic books


8

This is from an old Jewish Polish folk tale. A man's house is too crowded, so the rabbi tells him to bring in all his animals, one species at a time. When there are no more to being in, he tells him to take them all out. All of a sudden, the house feels so much roomier, despite staying exactly the same. Links: http://www.amazon.com/It-Could-Always-Be-Worse/...


8

Highly recommended is The Living Torah by the late Rabbi Arye Kaplan. It's translated into modern English - no thee, thy and thou. He brings numerous interpretations in the footnotes where available. He has broken each chapter into sub-chapters - each with its own heading. He brings lots of maps and charts and images. Apparently it's online here. (...


7

Start with Pines' translation into English since it's the classic English translation. After that, look at Yehuda Ibn Tibbon's translation - that is the original Hebrew translation. I push the classic sources since they are clear enough to provide a thorough explanation. The vast majority of the new versions don't add anything to the discussion, other ...


7

According to this note (in the list of commentators used by Nechama Leibowitz in her own essays on the Torah), he was a dayan in the Sephardic community of Hamburg, and died in 1701 (R. David Nieto, in his letter cited below, gives it as Cheshvan 5462, which matches the claim of 1701). It seems, too, that the correct Latin-alphabet spelling of his family ...


7

Actually, there's a great deal more to copyright than just protecting the author's creative contributions or additions. This article by Rabbi Israel Schneider, this article by Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff and this PDF by Rabbi Chaim Jachter all provide a nice overview of the different means by which rabbis have traditionally framed the problem. To give a brief ...


7

Rambam states explicitly in the first paragraph of his introduction to Sefer Hamitzvot that the Commentary to the Mishnah came first: After having completed our previous well-known work wherein we included a commentary to the whole Mishnah – our goal in that work having been satisfied with the explanation of the substance of each and every Halacha in ...


7

From the Feldheim website: Of the many works of Rabbi Moshe Hayyim Luzzatto, Mesillat Yesharim stands out as his magnum opus. Ever since it was first published in 1740 in Amsterdam, it has enjoyed great renown and was eventually adopted as a basic text for ethical study. Throughout the long history of its publication, Mesillat Yesharim fell prey to many ...


7

I will summarize three positions I have read on this. 1. Artscroll Artscroll has ruled (in Limud Yomi: A Daily Dose of Torah ed. 1 vol. 7) that it is forbidden to read business texts, including advertisements and billboards (p. 91) and newspapers (p. 108); but permitted reading books of secular knowledge (p. 99). They cited no sources except Shulchan Aruch ...


7

Rabbi Breitowitz's book: Between Civil & Religious Law: The Plight of the Agunah in American Society And later, Rabbi Broyde's: Marriage, Divorce, and the Abandoned Wife in Jewish Law


7

The Talmud discusses Genizoth. I don't recall off-hand the context, but I remember learning a Gemara that said students of great sages in the Tannaic era, when writing Torah SheBe'Al Peh was prohibited, would take notes that they would later commit to memory before placing in Genizah. In addition (or in contrast, perhaps), if a scribe made an uncorrectable ...


7

בס"ד Ownership In regards to whether you have ownwership with a rental. The entirety of the hotel belongs to the owner of the hotel, including the rooms that we, the guests are renting from the owner, so when I carry around the hotel I am carrying within the property of that owner. The room I rent in the hotel is not my property unless it is a long ...


7

You might want to check out the ArtScroll Stone Chumash (no, it's not written on rocks). It contains all of the Torah in Hebrew with a translation, plus Rashi in Hebrew. But what really makes it good for you is the rest of the commentary. They anthologize a whole bunch of the classic Rabbinic commentaries, in English. They of course cite whoever they are ...


7

For a Jewish translation of Nach (Tanach minus the Five Books of Moses) with a compendium of commentaries, I recommend the Judaica Press Prophets and Writings1. I have found that its English summary of commentaries on each verse reliably includes readable paraphrases or direct translations of the most interesting or useful comments of the classical ...


6

Not a physical book, but the Bar Ilan Responsa program has dozens of commentaries.


6

Rambam (in the introduction to his Commentary on the Mishnah) says that it is because the Torah itself introduces the concept of slaughtering for nonsacred purposes immediately following the rules about sacrifices (Deut. 12:11, 15). It may also be due to the fact that kosher slaughter is basically an optional mitzvah (you don't have to eat meat), except in ...


6

One is not allowed to read "Shtarei Hedyotos" (business writings) because: One isn't allowed to about speak weekday things. Even if one doesn't say the contents aloud, one may come to erase the contents. There is also a decree not to read any writings (even meal invitations, etc.) because one may come to read "Shatrei Hedyotos". The Beis Yosef adds that ...


6

I'm guessing that it's a semi-internal system that you can probably find out more about by contacting the OU. If it's referenced in a book, the OU must have some sort of research library. I couldn't find anything on the OU's website, but a quick google search of "OU Document A-94" led to this PDF, which refers to the document which you mention in footnote 31....


6

Here are a few in Hebrew: Sever Yetzira - Avraham Avinu Heichalos - R' Yishmoel Kohen Gadol Zohar and Tikkunei Zohar - Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai Bahir - R' Nechunia ben Hakaneh Raziel Hamalach - Adam Harishon, though many dispute this attribution.


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