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New Books in January and February

We added a number of new books in the first two months of 2015.

Rabbi David Kimhi was a 12th and 13th century rabbi and grammarian. Although most of his work and commentaries focus on language and grammar, his commentary on Bereshit is more philosophical.

Rabbi Ovadia ben Yaakov Sforno (c.1470-1550 – Italy) wrote a commentary on the Torah that sticks to the pshat school. He also wrote works on philosophy and commentaries on a number of books of Tanakh. Sforno is also quoted in responsa of contemporary authorities who consulted him on issues of halakha.

Chananel ben Kushiel was a 10th-11th century rabbi of Kairouan. He was one of the first great rabbis after the Geonic period, and contribute to the study of Talmud. His Talmud commentary is on the far outside edge of the standard Vilna edition. He wrote commentaries on the Torah, and while no complete volume has survived to this day, many of his comments were quoted elsewhere, and there have been modern compilations pulled from whatever sources were available.

Rashbam was a 12th century French Tosafist and the grandson of Rashi. His commentary is considered to be one of the standard biblical commentaries included in the mikraot gedolot. One of his most famous and controversial comments was that the Jewish day should begin in the morning, not the evening as is traditional. This position was attacked by Ibn Ezra, and caused part of Rashbam’s commentary to be censored for a time.

Yosef Haim was a 19th century Iraqi rabbi. One of his more famous works is the Ben Ish Chai. In it he lays out a series of essays on various halachic topics. Each essay is meant to be read during the week of a specific Torah parsha, and his total cycle takes two years to complete. We have the first year (half the complete cycle) now on Sefaria.

The Netziv was a 19th century Rosh Yeshiva of the famed Volozhin Yeshiva. His tenure there lasted almost 40 years. His Torah commentary supports a more traditional method of approaching the text than what some of his contemporaries supported. Bereshit and Shemot are up now, we hope to have the rest of his commentary on Torah up in the coming months.

Daat Zekenim is a collection of commentaries authored by the Tosafists – anonymous disciples of Rashi. It is included in many editions of Mikraot Gedolot.

  • Teshuvot HaRashba volumes 4, 5, and 6 (our first volumes of Teshuvot!)

Shlomo ben Aderet was a 13th century Spanish rabbi who is well known for his Talmud commentaries and responsa. We have three volumes of his responsa online right now, and we hope to have volume 7 soon.

As one of the greatest Jewish rabbis, thinkers, and halachisists of all time, the Rambam needs very little introduction. This book contains a collection of his teshuvot as well as some of his more famous letters including iggeret knaot and iggeret teiman. His teshuvot are up now, and we hope to have the rest of the letters up soon.

In addition to being a prolific Sefaria contributor, Dr. Josh Kulp has been running the Mishnah Yomit program for several years. Since he finished the mishnah, he’s now working on a daf shevui program where he translates and explains a daf of Talmud a week. He completed masechet Sukkah and is currently working through masechet Megillah, which we will begin importing into Sefaria soon.

  • Not a new book per-se, but we also finished double checking and inserting the commentaries of Rashi and Tosafot in masechet Megillah. (For more details on this, see the Talmud status post).

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