Books Received XLVII

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I don’t always have the chance to review each book, so I’ll list the books that I receive. Some of them will be quoted or reviewed in future posts. Here are the books I’ve received recently:

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.


  1. How about the new Hakirah?

  2. “The Greening of American Orthodox Judaism: Yavneh in the 1960s by Dr. Benny Kraut (HUC Press)”

    He is sadly A”H-he was niftar way before his time.

  3. Benny was a college classmate and we were actually active in Yavneh together way back then. He was a friend and is sorely missed.

  4. IORC, Dr Kraut, ZL, was a son in law of R Moshe Besdin ZL, and was one of the Maspidim at an Asifah for the Shloshim of R Besdin ZL.

  5. I recently picked up a copy of the Imrei Shefer Haggadah by the Netziv, which was edited by the grandson of R Kooperman of Michlala. I highly reccomend the same for its excellent work on the commentary of the Netziv as well as the footnotes.

  6. It is very dubious to write a sefer which claims that normative Torah observance can be psychotheraputic becuase standard piskei halachah address the norm whereas psychotherapy addresses the exception to the standard living pattern.

    If you have something broken in a system you may want to hack into the database and fix it, but the GUI may not provide the capability to address the situation, nor may it need to.

  7. You’re right Steve (what an unusual thing for me to say); Benny was married to R. Besdin’s oldest daughter Penny.

  8. pc: On what basis do you claim that Torah observance is only applicable to “normal” people? Is it necessarily true that there is no continuum of needs between “normal” and “abnormal” people?

  9. What I mean to say is that it is often valid in the course of psychotherapy for the patient to take a course of action which appears to be contrary to halacha, but is not.

    This often requires consultation with a rabbi / posek and I do not believe that a book which is non-technical, both from a halachical aspect and also from a psychotherapeutic aspect, can address the reconciling of halacha and reality in these cases.

    This book appears to view the Torah as a panacea to various sociological ills. Of course it is, barasi yetzer hara – barasi torah tavlin, but the foundational aspects of the Torah which have to be considered in negative sitations may override straightforward halacha.

    For a lot of people in these situations, the most primary and simple aspects of the Torah’s intentions have to be considered before applying what we consider to be standard halachical life.

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