Soon To Be Released

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Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
Although this is probably the best-known commandment in the Bible, it is not the most commented upon. After A Code of Jewish Ethics: Volume 1: You Shall Be Holy, Rabbi Telushkin’s second volume of the first major code of Jewish ethics written in the English language will be released on February 10, 2009.

Here is what the editor says about it:
Writing with great clarity and simplicity as well as with deep wisdom, Telushkin covers topics such as love and kindness, hospitality, visiting the sick, comforting mourners, charity, relations between Jews and non-Jews, compassion for animals, tolerance, self-defense, and end-of-life issues. Writing with great clarity and simplicity as well as with deep wisdom, Telushkin covers topics such as love and kindness, hospitality, visiting the sick, comforting mourners, charity, relations between Jews and non-Jews, compassion for animals, tolerance, self-defense, and end-of-life issues.

Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski seems to think highly of this book:
“Rabbi Joseph Telushkin has done it again! An amazing task, clarifying and elaborating upon the essential elements of Judaism. To present a most scholarly work in a reader-friendly format is truly an achievement. This is a book that should be in every Jewish home.”

I read the first volume in 2006 and here what I wrote about it at the time:
In this book, Rabbi Telushkin develops some of the ideas he tackled in The Book of Jewish Values, underlining how ethics are part and parcel of Judaism. The more I read it the more it challenged me and made me think of my interactions with the people around me.

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4 thoughts on “Soon To Be Released

  1. Fantastic!

    I haven’t yet had a chance to get A Code of Jewish Ethics vol. 1, so while I know that I love Rabbi Telushkin (having read Jewish Literacy; Jewish Wisdom; Words that Hurt, Words that Heal; and The Book of Jewish Values), I don’t know much about this present book per se.

    What exactly is the method and format? I know it will be eminently readable (i.e. not a dry legal tome), coming from Rabbi Telushkin’s pen, after all, but what is its scope and level of depth? Rabbi Telushkin’s other books are fantastic as introductions, but they won’t replace more serious study. For example, Words that Hurt, Words that Heal won’t replace studying the Hofetz Haim, if one wants to *really* know the legal ins and outs of lashon hara.

    Rav Hirsch writes, in a private letter, that one could write a treatise on the damage caused by people studying only Orah Haim in the Shulhan Aruch. My rabbi explains that Rav Hirsch was concerned that people learned only the “ritual” laws, and not the “ethical” laws.

    (People knew kashrut and taharat hamishpaha quite well, but those are in Yoreh Deah and Even haEzer respectively, not Orah Haim, and much of the Shulhan Aruch outside Orah Haim deals with laws not all applicable to the layman, such as marriage and divorce, how to operate a rabbinical court and evaluate witnesses, etc., and surely Rav Hirsch was not concerned overmuch that people were not learned in these laws. So Rav Hirsch was not concerned that people learned only OC per se, since they also learned important parts outside OC, and other parts outside OC are not applicable to the layman. Rav Hirsch apparently used OC as a shorthand for “ritual laws”, since OC contains laws of Shabbat and holidays and praying, which are the quintessential “ritual” laws besides kashrut and taharat hamishpaha.)

    Especially, the laws of lashon hara and interest were not being learned well enough.

    A friend of mine, Rabbi(?) Kenneth Chanoch Bloom, independently read Rav Hirsch the same way, i.e. that he was not complaining about learning only OC per se, but rather about learning only “ritual” laws, whether in OC, YD, or EH.

    Indeed, Rav Hirsch was fond of quipping “Glatt kosher? Glatt yoshor [uprightness, straightness, i.e. ethical propriety]!”

    To satisfy Rav Hirsch’s demands, this friend recommended, and I quote: “So I’d recommend for light reading: To Live Among Friends by R’ Dovid Castle, Pure Money by R’ Shlomo Cohen, The Laws of Other People’s Money by R’ Pinchas Bodner, and something on Lashon Hara, as these cover the areas of jewish practice commonly associated with yashrut [ethical propriety].”

    [Back to me:] Regarding lashon hara, the Hofetz Haim in Hebrew is the most obvious choice, but in English, Guard Your Tongue by Rabbi Z. Pliskin is a very close adaptation (not translation), and Rabbi Pliskin notes that he added practical real-world examples to help illustrate the Hofetz Haim’s intent.

    Perhaps we can add Rabbi Telushkin’s book to Rav Hirsch’s orders?

  2. I am a huge fan of Rav Telushkin’s (I also have Jewish Literacy, Jewish Wisdom, and Jewish Humor–a great book). I haven’t kept up with his publications, but I believe all are worth reading. Thanks for putting the word out about his recent book.

  3. i liked the first one. he was here a couple years ago as a speaker and i was really impressed with him. i look forward to the next book.

    his books are always so comprehensive and huge – it must take forever to edit/compile/etc….

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