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Jewish Thought

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  • The Speech of the Angels

    Max Stern

    Music is well said to be the Speech of the Angels, in fact
    nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be
    so divine. It brings us near to the infinite…into the eternal
    Sea of Light where song leads and inspires us…it was actually
    so in Greek, in Roman, in Moslem, most of all in old
    Hebrew times...David, king of Judah, a soul inspired by
    divine music…was wont to pour himself in song; he, with a
    seers eye and heart, discerned the godlike amid the human,
    struck tones that were an echo of the sphere harmonies and
    are still felt to be such.
    Thomas Carlyle, from “On Music and Morality”

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  • Immortality, Resurrection, and the Age of the Universe

    Aryeh Kaplan

    The title of this volume reflects its contents - Immortality, Resurrection, and the Age of the Universe: A Kabbalistic view. In addition, there is a discussion of the place of astrology within Jewish thinking and a mystical view of the relationship between the two sexes.

    Rabbi Kaplan was one of the most creative personalities to bless the Jewish scene in the last generation. His prolific and multifaceted output include books on the bible, Jewish law, mysticism (including books on meditation and prayer, in which he was particularly interested), and Jewish thought.

    This collection contains some of the most searching and provocative of his works. They combine the insights of ancient Kabbalistic teaching with the discoveries of modern science. Drawing on the Kabbalah, for example, Kaplan shows how modern science’s findings regarding the age of the universe may be reconciled with the chronology of the creation of Genesis 1, how the longevity of the patriarchs before the Flood and the resurrection of the dead may be explained in biological terms.

    In addition, as an appendix, the volume contains an annotated translation of the article Or-ha-Hayyim, by Rabbi Israel Lipschitz, the author of the classic Tiferet Israel commentary on the Mishnah. The article discusses fossils and evolution and was written in 1845. It has never before been available in English in its entirety. Rabbi Lipschitz was among the first, if not the first to rise to the challenge of the then new discovery of fossils in the first half of the nineteenth century.  

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  • Roni Akarah

    Rabbi Yaakov Hillel

    Why are some couples childless while others are blessed with children? What can a childless couple do to merit children? What is the Torah perspective on childlessness?

    These questions are not new; they date back to the time of our forefathers. Our Sages and later Rabbinic sources discuss these painful issues, providing insight, guidance, and practical advice. Rabbi Yaakov Hillel, Rosh Yeshivah of Ahavat Shalom in Jerusalem and the author of many works in Halachah and Kabbalah, presents and explains the teachings of our Sages and great Torah authorities, along with Halachic guidelines relevant to the childless. He brings these couples hope and encouragement, while helping them come to grips with the possibility that the prayers of some may remain unanswered. A comprehensive anthology of prayers and Torah verses is included for the benefit of both childless and expectant couples.

    About the Author

    The Gaon and Kabbalist Rabbi Yaakov Hillel, shlita, great-grandson of Hacham Moshe Hillel, who served as Av Beit Din and chief Rabbi of Baghdad in the time of the Ben Ish Hai, is one of the outstanding Sephardic rasei yeshivot today. He is the author of many books on Halachah and Kabbalah, and rabbis and laymen throughout the world turn to him for advice and instruction. He stands at the helm of the highly acclaimed institutions of Ahavat Shalom, which he founded in Jerusalem in 5732 (1972).

    Ahavat Shalom is one of the world's largest midrashim and it includes an exclusive branch for the training of rabbinical judges and a select group of scholars engaged in the study of Kabbalah. The Rabbinical Court of Ahavat Shalom sits in judgment every day to resolve litigation in monetary matters. Its publishing house has, to date, printed 355 rare and valuable manuscripts of Sephardic sages.

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  • The Power of Torah

    Ben Ish Hai

    Hacham Yosef Hayyim of Baghdad (1833-1909) was one of the most brilliant and prolific Sefardic sages of his time. Best known for his halachic work, the Ben Ish Hai, he wrote over seventy books on all areas of Torah study, from response to mussar to Kabbalah. He was the undisputed leader of Sefardic  Jewry, and his work remains one of the major influences on the Torah world today.

    The Ben Ish Hai Athology offers a select translation of Otzrot Hayyim, a thirty-five volume encyclopedia of the writings of H. Yosef Hayyim, published by Yeshivat Ahavat Shalom of Jerusalem. Each volume of Otzrot Hayyim is a collection of the Ben Ish Hai's teachings on a specific topic, such as Torah, Prayer, Repentance, and the Jewish holidays. The Ben Ish Hai Athology, these teachings have been made available to the English-speaking public for the first time.

    In this volume, The Power Of Torah, the Ben Ish Hai candidly addresses basic questions regarding belief in the Written and Oral Torah and the rabbinic ordinances. How is Torah different than man-made theories and ideologies? Why has Torah alone withstood the test of time? How does Torah help one actualize potential and develop innate greatness? The Ben Ish Hai discusses Torah as a world outlook, a way of life, and a legal code combined, simply enough for a child to study, yet deep enough to challenge the most brilliant minds.

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  • Days of Peace

    Ben Ish Hai

    Hacham Yosef Hayyim of Baghdad (1833-1909) was one of the most brilliant and prolific Sefardic sages of his time. Best known for his halachic work, the Ben Ish Hai, he wrote over seventy books on all areas of Torah study, from response to mussar to Kabbalah. He was the undisputed leader of Sefardic  Jewry, and his work remains one of the major influences on the Torah world today.

    The Ben Ish Hai Athology offers a select translation of Otzrot Hayyim, a thirty-five volume encyclopedia of the writings of H. Yosef Hayyim, published by Yeshivat Ahavat Shalom of Jerusalem. Each volume of Otzrot Hayyim is a collection of the Ben Ish Hai's teachings on a specific topic, such as Torah, Prayer, Repentance, and the Jewish holidays. The Ben Ish Hai Athology, these teachings have been made available to the English-speaking public for the first time.

    In this volume, Days of Peace, the Ben Ish Hai looks at the future redemption and final period in human history: the days of peace and joy, when the exiles of the Jewish people will be redeemed and the knowledge of God will fill the earth. He discusses the coming of the Messiah and what we can do to hasten his arrival: the resurrection of the dead; and the world to come.

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  • Faith & Folly

    Rabbi Yaakov Hillel

    Superstitions, astrology, palmistry, sorcery and other esoteric practices undoubtedly have the power to fascinate but which, if any, have the power to alert or predict destiny? The question has occupied the minds of scholar and layman alike from time immemorial, but far more pressing is the question of halachic permissibility of delving into mysticism and the world of the occult.

    Rabbi Yaakov Hillel, author and highly acclaimed Tamim Tiheyeh and the foremost authority on the subject, explores every facet of this tmely issue and indicates clearly and concisely which of these practices are halachically sanctioned and which are strictly forbidden.

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  • The Art of T'Shuva

    Rabbi David Samson and Tzvi Fishman

    T'shuva is the healthiest feeling possible. A healthy soul in a healthy body must necessarily bring about the great joy of t'shuva, and the soul consequently feels the greatest natural pleasure.

    Even if a person cannot immediately redress all of his wrongdoings, he should know that there is great value in simply wanting to be good.

    What matters the most is the striving for perfection, for the striving for perfection is perfection itself.

    Every Jew has his own specific pathway to t'shuva. General T'shuvas will not suffice. Everyone has to find the path appropriate for his own unique soul and unique role in life.

    The force of t'shuva, like gravity in the physical world, is built into the inner fabric of life. It stands as the impetus behind all world development and endeavor toward social improvement.

    The rebirth of the Jewish nation in the Land of Israel is the foundation for the ultimate t'shuva, both for the nation of Israel and for the world.

    The future will reveal the miracle of t'shuva, and this revelation will capture the whole world with an incredible fervor, far greater than all of the wonders which the world is accustomed to see.

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  • Treasure of Shabbat

    Jonathan G. Bressel

    "Finding meaning and inspiration through Shabbat celebration at home" A step-by-step guide to Shabbat celebration at home. Easy instructions gently guide the reader through the Shabbat ceremonies. All Hebrew text is translated and transliterated. Heartening stories and clear explanations enable readers to follow along at someone else's home or celebrate in their own home. Full index. Two thousand source notes. Includes blessing after the meal and food blessings. Illuminated with two hundred color photos. Learn More
  • Jewish Guide to Practical Medical Decision-Making

    Rabbi Jason Weiner

    Jewish Guide to Practical Medical Decision-Making presents the most contemporary medical information and rabbinic rulings in an accessible, user-friendly manner. Rabbi Weiner addresses a broad range of medical circumstances such as surrogacy and egg donation, assisted suicide, and end-of-life decision-making. Based on his extensive training and practical familiarity inside a major hospital, Rabbi Weiner provides clear and concise guidance to facilitate complex decision-making for the most common medical dilemmas that arise today.

    Rabbi Jason Weiner serves as the senior rabbi and director of the Spiritual Care Department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. A board certified chaplain, he serves as the president of the board of Rabbis of Southern California and as a member of the Cedars-Sinai End of Life Committee, the Organ Donor Council, and Bioethics Committee. He is also the rabbi of Knesset Israel Synagogue of Beverlywood, and frequently serves as a scholar-in-residence at conferences and synagogues.

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  • A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts

    Michael J. Broyde

    While the topic of conversion in Judaism has been extensively covered, no single book has explored the particular laws related to a convert after conversion. In A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts, Rabbi Michael J. Broyde explores many topics and questions that revolve around the life of a Jewish convert. Such topics include the place of a convert in a Jewish community according to Jewish law, the treatment of a convert with respect to acceptance and discrimination, and providing affirmative incentives to converts. Containing a detailed review of every aspect of Jewish law from the convert’s perspective and in relation to them, as well as related supplemental essays, A Concise Code of Jewish Law for Converts provides knowledge and guidance on life after conversion.

    About the Author:
    Michael J. Broyde is Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law and a Senior Fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion. He served for many years as the Yoshev Rosh (chair) and a dayan (judge) in the Southeast Rabbinical Court for Conversion, which was part of the GPS Conversion network. He also served as a dayan in the Beth Din of America and as its director. He was the founding Rabbi of the Young Israel in Atlanta, where he served for many years as the rabbi.

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