June 14, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
June 14, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Reviewing: “Cornerstones: The Bible and Jewish Ideology” by Rabbi Hayyim Angel. Kodesh Press. 2020. English. Paperback. 224 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1947857438.

There’s a joke that two yeshiva bochurim found a Tanach. Once asked the other what it was. To which the other replied: I’m not sure, but I know the Gemara quotes it all the time. While that’s obviously a witticism, the reality is that too many people across the religious spectrum don’t have a comprehensive understanding of Tanach.

While Tanach is the cornerstone of Jewish thought, many have sadly not undertaken a serious study of it. For example, in the hours after Biden’s victory, an article appeared, “Did Biden just pull an ‘Adonijah’: Claiming the Crown before Final Results?” That only makes sense to someone who knows the story of Adonijah in Shmuel 2 and how he tried to usurp the crown from Shlomo to understand the comparison.

In “Cornerstones: The Bible and Jewish Ideology,” Rabbi Hayyim Angel has 12 essays (two new, 10 previously published) on various aspects of Tanach study. As a brilliant thinker and gifted writer, Angel’s essays are thought-provoking and insightful.

The book starts with an original essay on the Land of Israel in the Bible. Angel writes that there is no biblical holiday to commemorate Israel’s entry into the land. This is due to the fact that the Torah creates a national covenantal identity that transcends the Land of Israel.

Other essays include timely topics such as Tanakh and Superstition, Love the Ger, Tanakh and Sephardic Inclusion in the yeshiva high school curriculum, and more. Angel does not shy away from the tough questions and provides insightful, deliberate and well-reasoned answers that will make you a better person.

As one of the more original thinkers of our day, “Cornerstones” highlights Rabbi Angel’s thoughts and insights at their very best.

Reviewing: “A Kabbalah of Food: Stories, Teachings, Recipes” by Rabbi Hanoch Hecht. Monkfish Book Publishing. 2020. English. Paperback. 280 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1948626316.

When a book opens with the line “nothing is more central to Jewish life than food and storytelling,” you know it is not written by a Brisker. In “A Kabbalah of Food: Stories, Teachings, Recipes,” author Rabbi Hanoch Hecht, director of Chabad of Dutchess County, has combined storytelling with food recipes.

The first half of the book contains about 40 chasidic stories—many of them about food, with the Baal Shem Tov as the protagonist—while the second half of the book has numerous recipes for Shabbat and Jewish holidays. While my culinary capabilities stop at making Minute Rice and anything involving more than four ingredients, I did not actually make the items in part 2.

The book is written so that the stories, teaching and recipes can bring the reader closer to observing kashrut properly and elevate the sparks of godliness within the physical world. As such, this is a versatile book for both the observant reader and those on their journey to religious observance.


Ben Rothke lives in New Jersey and works in the information security field. He reviews books on religion, technology and science. @benrothke

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles