New Texts for the New Year: 2018

We're a month into 2018 and we have dozens of new texts, commentaries, and translations in the library. Here a few highlights:

  1. Ben Sira is an apocryphal book of proverbs and ethical teachings authored in the 2nd-century. Though not included in the Biblical canon, it is quoted in the Talmud, which also contains a discussion of some of its verses. Available in Hebrew.
  2. Collected Responsa in Wartime is a book of questions from government officials, chaplains, and Jewish service members directed to the interdenominational Committee of Army and Navy Religious Activities during WWII. Publication of these decisions, many of them given as hora'at sha'ah ("guidance for the hour"), was intended chiefly as a memento of wartime. Available in English.
  3. HaKtav VeHaKabalah, by R. Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenburg (1785-1865), a German Rabbi and scholar, was first published in 1839. HaKtav VeHaKabalah (The Written Torah and the Oral Tradition) was intended to demonstrate the indivisibility of the written Torah and its counterpart, the oral Torah. It connects the literal meaning to the hidden meaning by focusing on the traditional Jewish sources (the Mishna, the Talmud, and the Midrash). The work draws on previous commentaries, such as those of the Vilna Gaon and Shadal, and occasionally includes contemporary non-traditional sources. Available in Hebrew.
  4. Kav HaYashar by Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Kaidanover (?-1712) is one of the most popular works of Musar of the last 300 years. The title Kav HaYashar alludes to the number of chapters, the author’s name, and the content, "a finely sifted measure (kav) of pure ethical exhortation." Available in English and Hebrew.
  5. Maaseh Rokeach is a novella and commentary on Maimonides' Mishneh Torah by Rabbi Mas'ud Hai Rakkah's (1690 – 1768). Available in Hebrew.
  6. Pri Tzadik by Rabbi Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin (1823-1900) is a compilation of Torah commentary and insights on Shabbat and the Festivals. Available in Hebrew.
  7. Rashi's commentary on the five Megillot — Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther. Available in English and Hebrew.
  8. Siftei Chakhamim by R. Shabbetai Bass (1641–1718) is an essential supercommentary on Rashi's Torah commentary. Available in English and Hebrew.
  9. Steinsaltz on Avodah Zarah is now available in English and Modern Hebrew for all the Daf Yomi learners.
  10. Torah Temimah on Torah and the Five Megillot, by Rabbi Baruch Epstein (1860–1941), displays the inter-relationship between the Oral and Written Law. The Torah Temimah quotes related Talmudic and Midrashic passages, while providing an analysis of how the interpretations were deduced. Available in Hebrew.