Four Book Reviews

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Reviews of The God BookThe Laws of IDF UniformsThe Wisdom of Wealth: Torah Values Regarding Money and Jewish Guide to Practical Medical Decision Making:

by R. Gil Student

The God Book
By Jack Abramowitz
Xlibris
Indiana, 2017
326 pages

The problem with medieval Jewish philosophy is that it is medieval and it is philosophy. In other words, it contains complex philosophical arguments that are based in the Neo-Platonic and Neo-Aristotelian worlds of the Middle Ages. Anyone today who studies those important works has to wade through arguments that no longer resonate, as well as scientific-cosmological descriptions that have long been supplanted. Yet, these philosophical works contain important Jewish ideas about life, the world and our relationship with God.

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz attempts to isolate the theology—religious thought—without the medieval baggage. He summarizes Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed by topic, skipping the heavy philosophical argumentation and outdated context. What remains are ideas that make sense to contemporary Jews, written by a master communicator. Topics include good and evil, the purpose of the Torah, what we know and can say about God, what constitutes love of God and how we acquire it, and much more. Rabbi Abramowitz isolates the hashkafah, Jewish thought, in the hardest book of medieval Jewish philosophy. He does the same for Maimonides’ Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah, Rabbeinu Bachya’s Chovot HaLevavot and Ramchal’s early-modern Derech Hashem.

Continued in Jewish Action.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, 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 of New Jersey, 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 recently served on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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