|Ask Rabbi Simmons|
Judaism is a subject which has long intrigued me and being disabled now gives me more time to read and learn about such things. If one of the knowledgeable members here would be kind enough to recommend some books, including an edition or particular authored copy of the Talmud suitable for me I would greatly appreciate it. At present I know only small bits of information about Judaism so please be aware of this when making your recommendations.
Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts.
Here is my personal TOP TEN RECOMMENDED READING list.
1) STONE CHUMASH
R' Nosson Scherman (ArtScroll-Mesorah 1993)
Modern translation; user-friendly format. Features a thorough and fully-sourced commentary, culled from Talmudic, medieval and contemporary sources. Lively reading. A must for every Jewish home.
2) ON JUDAISM
Emanuel Feldman (Shaar Press 1994)
In the form of conversations between a rabbi and a seeker, this book delightfully weaves through the fabric of Jewish life including faith, covenant, ethics, sin, holiness, prayer and more. The author, besides being a law school professor and magazine editor, is the rabbi who built Torah Judaism in Atlanta from the ground up.
GATEWAY TO HAPPINESS
Zelig Pliskin (Aish HaTorah 1980)
Your attitude controls your mood. Learn the Torah's techniques for ridding yourself of anxiety, fear and stress - while increasing your joy, appreciation and energy. A noted psychologist and Talmudic scholar, Rabbi Pliskin heads the counselling center at Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem.
4) THE BOOK OF OUR HERITAGE
R' Eliyahu Kitov (Feldheim 1978)
A thorough review of the Jewish calendar. Includes month-by-month explanation of all the holidays, laws and customs throughout the Jewish year. A classic.
Mesorah Publications 1984
The most complete and accurate prayer book on the market today. Yet more than just a text of the prayers, this includes full explanations of all prayers, laws and customs. Features a masterful essay on the essence of prayer. Includes special prayers for the holidays and life-cycle events. Beautifully organized and designed.
THE ARYEH KAPLAN ANTHOLOGY
Aryeh Kaplan (NCSY-Mesorah 1988)
Listed in "Who's Who" as an accomplished physicist, Aryeh Kaplan applied his brilliant mind first and foremost to Torah study - mastering all the works of Jewish philosophy, law and kabbalah. He shared his encyclopedic knowledge in a series of masterful works that blends the mystical and the practical. Topics include: The Messiah, Jerusalem, Christianity, Shabbos, Mikveh, Soul and Afterlife, and the nature of G-d.
7) TO BE A JEWISH WOMAN
Lisa Aiken (Jason Aronson 1992)
The long-awaited compedium of issues for the modern Jewish wo-man. Includes issues of the synagogue, child-raising, modesty, the mikveh, and spirituality. Plus a historical overview of the Matriarchs.
GENESIS AND THE BIG BANG
Gerald Schroeder (Bantam 1990)
A ground-breaking work that confronts the cosmological debate head-on. The author, a former M.I.T. professor of nuclear physics and member of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, is now a Discovery lecturer in Jerusalem.
9) TRIUMPH OF SURVIVAL
Berel Wein (Shaar Press 1990)
The complete story of the Jews in the modern era, 1650-1990. Filled with facts and anecdotes. Includes: Enlightenment, anti-Semitism, American Jewry, the Holocaust, and the State of Israel. Drawn from Rabbi Wein's masterful cassette lecture series.
10) BIBLE FOR THE CLUELESS BUT CURIOUS
Nachum Braverman (Leviathan Press 1999)
Educational Director of Aish HaTorah Los Angeles makes the Five Books of Moses relevant to today, packed with practical wisdom on relationships, spirituality, parenting, personal growth, and more.
And that's the list!With blessings from Jerusalem,
Rabbi Shraga Simmons