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    Yitshak Reiner

 

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  • Studies on the Haggadah

    Nechama Leibowitz

    Yitshak Reiner and Shmuel Peerless

    The essence of the educational approach reflected in the Passover Haggadah is the question and answer method. Studies on the Haggadah is based on the teachings of one of the outstanding Bible teachers of our generation, Nechama Leibowitz, presenting over 100 analytical questions relating to the Passover Seder and the Exodus from Egypt. Questions extracted from Nechama's renowned weekly Torah study sheets guide the reader through an analysis of the Haggadah text, and the sources upon which it is based. Suggested answers are provided by the editors, two former students of Nechama. The full text of the Passover Haggadah appears in the original Hebrew with English translation. The commentary is in English.
    Praise for Studies on the Haggadah
    Nechama Leibowitz (1905–1997) was a much loved and highly respected teacher in Israel. Her Gilyonot, study sheets, in which she raised questions and offered the answers of famous Bible commentators, were very stimulating and they fostered in-depth study and understanding of the Bible by its readers. Many rabbis consider her their teacher. Books have been written about her and her Gilyonot. The editors of this volume collected Gilyonot that relate to the Haggadah and help explain parts of it. The Haggadah is the book that many Jews read on Passover evening at the Seder meal. It tells many facts and traditions regarding the Israelite exodus from Egypt during the days of Moses. When Jews read it, it helps them fulfill the biblical command to recall the exodus and the message that it has for people today, a message of freedom. The word Seder means "order." It is the name given to this Passover meal because of the order of the Haggadah readings, its fifteen parts, and the physical practices that are part of the Seder, such as encouraging children to ask questions, and eating unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
    This book contains the entire Haggadah with the Leibowitz questions and answers and is interesting. Readers do not have to read it from front to back, but can leaf through it and see Leibowitz's comments on various parts of the readings and practices.
    Leibowitz, for example, explains why Jews drink four cups of wine during the Seder and why a fifth cup is set aside, and said to be placed for the prophet Elijah. She notes that the blessing made over the first cup of wine begins with part of a verse from the end of chapter one of Genesis and continues with chapter two and explains why. She tells that some scholars' explanations of various practices differ with those offered by other scholars and analyzes why they differ. Four different kinds of sons are discussed during the Seder, and she asks what is it that makes one of them wicked? She answers many other questions, such as: How many years did the Egyptian slavery last? Why wasn't God's decree that the Israelites should borrow goods from Egyptians with no intention of returning them theft? What was the significance of Moses' staff? What was the purpose of the plagues; couldn't God have saved the Israelites without them or with fewer of them; and how should they be grouped? Did God "harden" Pharaoh's heart? Why were the Israelites told to mark their homes with blood; wouldn't God know who lived in each house?
    The editors include some heart-warming stories about Nechama Leibowitz and her encounters with people that readers will also enjoy. These include conversations with cab drivers and her refusal to leave Israel, which she loved, for any reason.
    ~ Dr. Israel Drazin, author of twenty books, including Maimonides: Reason Above All Learn More
  • Shaarei Nechama: Machzor LeRosh HaShanah

    Yitshak Reiner Advisor: Bryna Jocheved Levy

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    Shaarei Nechama
    Rosh Hashana Machzor With Commentary of Professor Nechama Leibowitz

    Hebrew Only

    Nechama Leibowitz was the most prominent, creative, and ground breaking teacher of Bible and Biblical interpretation of her time. She taught and continues to inspire thousands. In Machzor Shaarei Nechama, we have collected from her wellsprings of Torah, drawn from her writings. You will find them organized under the rubrics: "Gates of Prayer," "Gates of Torah" and "Gates of Repentance." Enter and experience the new vistas and wondrous insights of Nechama Leibowitz, which will inform and illuminate the high holidays. 

    Rabbi Yitshak Reiner, a resident of Jerusalem, veteran Torah educator, and disciple and colleague of the late Nechama Leibowitz has devoted years to intense investigation of her study sheets on the weekly Torah readings (gilyonot). These efforts resulted in the publication of Hagadat Nechama (Hebrew/English/French and Spanish), Moadei Nechama (Hebrew), and the present Shaarei Nechama (Hebrew), a Rosh Hashana Machzor (prayer book) dealing with the concept of repentance (teshuva), the major theme of the High Holiday Days. In the past, Rabbi Reiner has served as principal of the Tachkemoni Jewish Day School in Antwerp, Belgium and as the director of the Jewish Agency's Department of Seminars and In-service Education for Diaspora Jewish educators. In following Nechama's pedagogical methodology, Rabbi Reiner challenges the readers/students to recognize the ostensible problem in the text and to evaluate the suggested answers. The readers/students are thus also introduced to the tradition of classical biblical commentary. The Machzor will certainly serve as an inspiration to the worshipper during the Rosh Hashana holiday and throughout the remainder of the year. 


    Dr. Bryna Jocheved Levy, a student of Prof. Nechama Leibowitz, is a leader in the movement for women's Torah studies. She holds degrees from Barnard College, McGill University and the first doctorate in Biblical Studies awarded to a woman at Yeshiva University. Dr. Levy is the founder of the Bible Department at Matan: Women's Institute for Torah Studies in Jerusalem, and the Rector of the Joan and Shael Bellows Eshkolot Graduate Program in Bible and Jewish Education at Matan and Hebrew University. Dr. Levy is the mother of six and lives in Jerusalem. 

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