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July-August: New Books

Sefaria had a busy summer. Take a look at the content that’s been added in just the last two months.

  • Books by the Maharal:
    • Ner Mitzvah – on Hanukkah and the four exiles the Jews have faced – Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman.
    • Netivot Olam – A work on ethics and how a person should act.
    • Drashot Maharal – A series of sermons given by the Maharal.

  • Midrash:
    • Mechilta D’Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai (digitized by Sefaria) – Tana’itic Midrash Halachah from the school of Rabbi Yishmael on Chumash Shemot. It has not come down to us intact, but rather was laboriously partially reconstructed in the 20th century from fragments quoted in Midrash Hagadol, by R. David Zvi Hoffman and Y.N. Epstein
    • Pirke deRabbi Eliezer – Midrash Aggadah attributed to Rabbi Eliezer (Hagadol), whose biographical sketch opens the work. Differing quite profoundly in style and structure from many other midrashim, Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer is found in many manuscripts, attesting to a very wide readership across the Jewish world.
    • Mekhilta – A tana’itic Midrash Halachah from the school of Rabbi Yishmael on Chumash Shemot. Although categorized as Midrash Halachah, it contains extensive passages of aggadah.
    • Yalkut Shimoni on Torah – a large collection of aggadic midrashim connected to the Torah.
  • Kabbalah and Chasidut:
    • The Zohar – The foundational work of Kabbalah. It contains a commentary on the Torah, and discusses the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, redemption, the relationship of Ego to Darkness and “true self” to “The Light of God,” and the relationship between the “universal energy” and man. The Zohar also holds the unique distinction of being the single largest text in the Sefaria library.
    • Zohar Chadash – After the initial printing of the Zohar, many other manuscripts with additional information were compiled into another volume known as Zohar Chadash, or “New Zohar.”
    • Tikkunei HaZohar – 70 distinct kabbalistic commentaries and interpretations of the opening words of the Torah.
    • Tanya – Classic work of Chassidic thought by 18th century Russian Chassidic master, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of the Lubavitch/Chabad school of Chassidut. The work is widely studied outside of Chabad circles as well, and is the most prominent and renowned work of the intellect-centered stream of Chassidic thought.
  • Halachah
    • Sha’ar Hamayim Hakatzar (Rashba) – Halachic work by the great early 14th century Spanish talmudist and halachic master, Rabbi Shmuel ben Avraham Ibn Adrat, the “Rashba,” premier disciple of the Ramban. The subject of the work is the laws of mivkva’ot, and was considered a definitive work by later halachic codifiers. The present work is an abbreviation of the fuller work. It is printed following the author’s Torat HaBayit.
    • Piskei Challah (Rashba) – Another book by the Rashba. The subject of the work is the mitzvah of taking challah from the dough, and was considered a definitive work by later halachic codifiers.
    • Avodat Hakodesh (Rashba) – Also by the Rashba, the subject is the laws of Shabbat and holidays.
  • Talmud Commentaries
    • Maharsha chidushei halachot on EruvinShabbatChagigah, Brachot, and Ketubot, and Chidushei Aggadot on Brachot (digitized by Sefaria)
    • Rif on BerakhotBeitzaShabbatYoma, and Pesachim (digitized by Sefaria) – Halachic work by the great 11th century Spanish talmudist and halachic master, Rabbi Yitzchak ben Ya’akov Al-Fasi (the “Rif”), covering the practical areas of Jewish law in the Diaspora. The work follows the order of the Talmudic discussion and good portion of it uses the language of the Talmud itself, shorn of the casuistic discussion, to formulate the final law. A page of the “Rif” is laid out like the Talmud itself, with commentaries around the central column (the Rif), and served as a main focus of study in places and age where the Talmud itself was proscribed.
  • Philosophy and Machshava:
    • Moreh Nevuchim by the Rambam (completely bilingual and aligned using the Ibn Tibon Hebrew text and the Friedlander English)
    • Derashot HaRan – Philosophic work by the great 14th century Spanish talmudist and halachic master, Rabbi Nissim ben Reuven Gerondi, the “Ran,” consisting of 12 derashot, probably publicly delivered, and, unusually, not composed in reaction to the Maimonidean philosophical legacy
    • Letter from Ramban to his son containing an ethical will – bilingual (digitized by Sefaria)

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