Monday, June 07, 2010

Shavuah HaSefer: A Recommended Reading List III

Shavuah HaSefer 2010: A Recommended Reading List III

by Eliezer Brodt

Book week just began in Eretz Yisroel. As I wrote in previous years, in Israel, around Shavous time (some times right before some times right after), there is a period of about ten days called Shavuah Hasefer-book week. Shavuah HaSefer is a sale which takes place all across the country in stores, malls and special venues rented out for the sale. There are places where strictly “frum” seforim are sold and other places have most of the secular publishing houses. Many publishing houses release new titles specifically at this time. In this post I would just like to mention some of the very recent titles from the various publishing houses which are available at this year's Shavuah HaSefer. For previous years posts see this post and this post. Last year I was not in Eretz Yisroel during book week so I was unable to post about it. Therefore this year I hope to include the new books of both this year and last year. Some times I include an older title as I just noticed the book. As I have written in the past I do not intend to include all the new books as that would be impossible, composing this list is hard enough. I tried to provide links to many of the titles. Eventually some of these titles will be the subject of their own reviews. I try to include titles of wide amount of interests. Some books I can not provide much information as I just glanced at them quickly. I apologize in advance for any mistakes regarding transliteration. I also apologize in advance for using the word excellent so many times when describing seforim in this post. Additionally this year I am offering a service, for a small fee to help one purchase these titles. For more information about this email me at

The Bialik Institute printed a few great titles. The much awaited volume four of the collected writings of Y. Ta- Shma  was just published. This volume is devoted to Mizrach and Provence it also includes articles on some other odds and ends. One excellent title is Ha- Kishuf Ha-yehudi Ha-kodom from Y. Harari. Another important work is Kisvei R. Moshe Ibn Tibon. This contains three works of his, with notes, printed from manuscript for the first time. Amongst them is a commentary on Azharot. Just out is a new work on R. Moshe ha-Darshan from Professor C. Mack called Mesodo Shel Moshe Ha-darshan. This much awaited book looks incredible. Another recent title is Rashi Keparshan Ubalshan. Another title is a nice collection of articles called Samcut Ruchneyot. Another title is Iyunei Teshuvah. Another work recently printed related to poetry in the Middle Ages from B. Bar Tikvah called Sugos Ve-sugyos be-Piut Haprovencali.  Another title is Dor Dor Uparshunav - collected articles of S. Yefet. Another volume is Shay le-Sarah Yefet, A volume in S. Yefet's Honor, devoted to Rashbam and other topics. Another important book printed from manuscript is R. Moshe Cordovero's Ma'yan Ein Yakov. Another good title printed is volume seventy one of the excellent series Dorot called Aviezr. This is a critical edition of the autobiography of Mordechai Ginzburg edited by S. Werse.

Bar Ilan University Press has many great new titles. A Pirish Kadmon on the Yesod Moreh of the Ibn Ezra. An in-depth work on the Sefer Haikraim called Hagoto Shel R. Yosef Albo. Loshon Kodesh Girsos Ha-kedoemeha on the first Jewish comedy called Ztachus Bedechusa Dekidushin (see here). Alei Sefer is back from its long vacation, issues twenty and twenty one are now available both are full of great stuff. Volume twenty one and twenty two of Badad are available. Volume nine of the Iyuni Mikra series is out. Kenishta volume four is out and as previous volumes it is full of very nice articles. A nice volume related to Yerushalmi Tannis called Seder Tannis Keitzad. Another very good book is called Yeish Seder Lemekra (also distributed by Magnes press).

Reuvan Mass has a few good titles. Recently they began a new series called Resho'ot. They began the series with R. Moshe Feinstein Teshuvot each book includes an overview of the topic and a brief history of the Godol's life. Now there are volumes available on  R. Herzog and R. Goren. Another new title is Hamas ha-Zeman which is critical edition  of a work written in 1481 in Italy edited by D. Bergman. Another impressive looking title is Drasha ha-Mesorah ve-Haketuvah from S. Regev. This book is about the Derasha, both oral and written, in the Middle Ages. An older title I just noticed is called Sod ha-Da'at from N. Lederberg. This book is about the Beshet.

Volume four from the Talmud Haigud Project headed by Professor Shamma Friedman was printed. This volume is on the fourth Perek of Pesachim. It was done by Professor Aron Amit. This work looks very special. These books are distributed by Reuvan Mass.

The Jewish Theological Seminary Press has volume three of the Kuntres Hatushuvos Hachdash (earlier volumes reviewed here). Volume four is due out this summer and is available for pre-order with book week price. Also volumes five and six from Toldos ha-Chinuch be-Yisroel are available. Another good looking new title is called Mechallel Shabbas Befarhesyyah. An older title that reappeared (as they found a bunch of lost copies) is the Pirish Limishna Mescatas Shabbas from Professor A. Goldberg. Additionally, one should keep an eye out in their "cheap section" as there are always some good titles such as N. Danzig work on Halachas Pesukos, a real classic.

Schecter Institute has some new titles amongst them a critical edition of Medrash Shmuel and a reprinted version of Legends of the Jews from Levi Ginsburg in Hebrew. An additional new title is Me-Breslau Le-Yerushalyim.

Machlekes Herzog has some new titles amongst them Pirqe Miqrarot and Pirqe Yeshayahu from Mordechai Breuer. Zohar Ramchal from Y. Avivi was reprinted with additions.

Mechon Ben Zvi has some new volumes in there set of critical editions of classics of Sefer ha-Makabim and other works: Megilos Midbar Yehudah and Megilat Komran. Volume eight of the series Shalem is out and is full of great articles. Volume five of Ginzei Kedem is out. A new critical edition of Sefer Ha-Gerushin from R. Shmuel Ben Chafni Goan is out. One must mention the extremely important work of Y. Avivi, Kabbalas ha-Ari. Sefer Ho-du volumes one and three are available these are documents from the Cario Geniza edited by Goieten and M. Friedman. A new critical edition of Sefer Tachkomoni was printed edited by Y. Yahalom and others. One should keep an eye out on there cheap section as there are some great titles for really cheap prices such as Pirish of R’ Matisyhu Hayesari on Avos (edited by Professor Y. Spiegel) Shedim Ruchos and Neshmos edited by E. Leibes and R. David de Silva, Pri Megadim edited by Z. Amar.

Merkaz Zalman Shazar has released some new titles among them books about the Rambam and R. Hasdai Crescas. These books are part of their recent series on the great leaders throughout the generations. Another title is Rishonim ve-Aharonim. This is a Sefer Ha'yovel Lekoved Avraham Grossman. This volume is full of many excellent articles from various top scholars. Another great title is 'Yashan Mipnei Hadash'. These two beautiful volumes were prepared in honor of Immanuel Etkes for more information about them see here. Another nice looking title is Shorshei Hachilon from S. Feiner. Volume four of Yosef Dan's Toldot Torat Sod ha-Ivrit is now in print. Another title from Y. Dan is Al Gershom Scholem which is a collection of articles about Scholem. Older excellent titles are Rashi Demuto Veyetzerato (two volumes) and HaRamabam, Shamronis Mekorit Mehapacnut (two volumes). Another older tile I recently noticed is Kanoit Dateiot. This is a very nice collection of articles related to religious radicalism. Here again, one should keep an eye out on there cheap section as there are some great titles for really cheap prices.

Magnes Press has issued a few nice titles amongst them: The excellent looking work Osef Hageniza Hacariot Bezenevah. This work includes texts and great articles by various experts all based on this missing box from Cario recently rediscovered. Another title is Bein Yehudim Lenotzrim Beparshnut Hamikra from S. Kamin. Another great title is Logica Aristotolis Umethodoligia Talmudit. This impressive work is all about the thirteen methods of Darshaning the Torah. Another book is about R. Yehuda ha-Levi from Y. Yahalom, this book is available in both Hebrew and English. A critical edition of the Rashbam on Shir Hashirim is now available and his work on Iyov was reprinted. One must metion the excellent work from L. Moscovitz's, Hatermenolaiga Shel Hayerushlmi. Another title is Hatext Shelo Hayuh about Mesechtas Sota. Another title is Movos Lemekors Umesorot from D. Halivni. This is all of his introduction that he has written over the years to explain his famous method. Another great collection is called Hashelav Hacharon this is a collection of G. Scholem's articles about chassidus. Another new title is Hapirush Hameyuchus LeRashi Ledivrei Hayomim. Another new title is Siygufim ViPiytum. Another older title is Iyunim Chadashim Bephilshphia Shel Halacha edited by A. Ravitzky and A. Resnak.

Kibutz Hamechuad has printed some nice new titles amongst them Zichron Venshea from R. Elior related to dead sea scrolls, Ochlim Ledas about the Meal in the Tekufa of Chazal, Kankan Malei Yashan about R. Samson Raphael Hirsch work on Torah.      .

Shalem distributors has many great new titles. Amongst them the continuation of the beautiful critical edition of Mishnayis from Professors S. and Z. Safrai mentioned a few years back. There now are volumes on Shabbas (two volumes), Eruvin, Pesachim, Shekalim, and Tannis- Megilah in one volume. These volumes are excellent and full of very useful information on many fronts I hope to return to this series in a post in the near future. Another set of good books are the Masuah Le-Yitzhak: Rabbi Yitzhak Isaac ha-Levi Herzog Memorial Volume here. Another older good title is the Beracha Le'Avraham this is a Collection of Articles in Honor of Rabbi Professor Avraham Steinberg's Sixtieth Birthday for more on this see here.  Some other very good books worth mentioning available by Shalem are the works of Z. Amar most recently his work called Merorim all about Maror on Peseach. Another nice title of his called Arbat Haminim. Some older titles of his are also available by Shalem. Another good title is R. Eze'le Charif this book is updated from the previous edition. The controversial Zera Yisroel (two volumes) from Rabbi Amsalem, all about Geyrus is still available (see links here). Two reprints, in one volume from R. Reuven Margolis were just printed his Shimish Chachamim, and Divorim be-Itam. Another excellent title and at a cheap price too is Pischei Tefialh u-Moed. This volume is a collection of thirty two (from over one hundred and sixty) of Professor Yakov Speigel's articles related to tefilah and Moedim. [Insider's tip not to many copies of this book were printed]. It includes articles and Manuscripts of Rishonim and Achronim.  Another title worth mentioning is the work on Sanhedrin and Makot from Y. Shilat, Bemsilot Ha-oleh (two volumes). Another very good title is Chidushei Harav Zitron-Katroni, son in law of the Rogatchver Goan (681 pps.). This work also includes a excellent history of R. Zitron and life in Eretz Yisroel at the time. One interesting piece in the volume is what he writes about his Rebbe R. Meir Simach Me-dvinsk (571-572). See also what he writes about R. Hirschonson (p.565) and R. Reines (p. 563). Also worth mentioning is Yerushlyim Bemoedeha from R. Neventzal has two new volumes on Shababs. One last special title worth mentioning is Oro Shel Olam. This book is volume two of the very special biography on R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach - Torot Hamisamcat.

Schoken has a new book from Moshe Idel called Kabbalah Varos.

Koren is selling D. Halvni book, 'Breaking the Tablets Jewish Theology after the Shoah' translated into Hebrew called Shivrei Haluchos.

Carmel has an interesting looking book called Betei Medresh Nussach Ashkenaz. This book is a collection of twenty five accounts of graduates of Rabbinical seminaries in Germany and Austria edited by Asaf Yedidya. Another tile I noticed was from C. Mak called Breshies le-Breishes Rabbah. An additional title which they have is a new translation of Josephus's Toldot Melchamas Ha-yehudim Be-Haromim. An older title of theirs is a book from
Y. Leibes called Eleloyos Elokim. Another new title I saw (tipped by Menachem Butler) is from S. Feiner called Melchamos Tarbus related to the Haskalah in the nineteenth century.

Ariel publishing house translated from Yiddish a great autobiography, Memoirs of Zvi Hirsch Masliansky. This book is full of great material. The author was born in 1856 and traveled Europe and met many great Gedolim and even Masklim along the way. He describes his meeting with them and observations about life in that time period he ended up in America and even toured Eretz Yisroel all discussed in the book.

Mechon Yerushalim  has a few very good new titles. The Leket Yosher, part one with notes, Sefer Haterumos (part two, part one is not yet out) with notes. A collection of letters and Teshuvos of R. Yitzchak Elchanon Specter was just printed. They put out a fancy version of the Minchas Chinuch on Shabbas. Volume two of their Seder Rav Amram Gaon is now available. Another work is Azharot with a pirish Ner Mitzvah (and notes) from R. Moshe Pizanti who was born around the Year 1550. Another very special sefer printed was the Shilte ha-Gibborim. They did a great job in reprinting this beautiful sefer making it very usable with many notes and indexes. They also printed the complete Or Zaru in three volumes this is much different than there other set of Or Zaru which is still being worked on.

Tel Aviv university has a great new book called Ha-cheder. This book is a collection of great articles and bibliography related to the Cheder. The editors of this book are David Assaf and E. Etkes. It also includes many autobiographical account from memoirs of people about there time spent learning in the Cheder.

It is worth mentioning that althought there is nothing really new from N. Rakover this year, but his previous works are being sold for extremely cheap prices.

Shalem Press printed an older title from E. Berkovitz (here) and are having some good deals in general.

Feldheim just release the much awaited new edition of Shmirat Shabbas Ke-hilchso. This volume looks beautiful, it is only volume one. Another special title (two volumes) is the Shomrei Mishmeret ha-Kodesh.


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