Friday, July 03, 2020

Sefer HaYashar on the Pharaoh of the Exodus

I received the following email from Matthew Alan Atwood:

Hello friend. I'm here to humbly correct you on your article about "Adikam" being the Pharoah of the Exodus. He was not, not according to the book of Jasher. Please allow me to respectfully present my arguement.
The book of Jasher tells us that Adekam became Pharoah when he turned 20 years old, after his father Pharoah Melol died. Jasher tells us that the same year Adikam because Pharoah, Moses was released from his 10 year prison term in Midian. Were told Moses was put in prison when he was 66 years old, the year the people of Cush expelled him as their ruler. So Moses was released from Midean prison at the age of 76. Therefore Adikam became Pharoah when Moses was 76 years old, the first year moses was released from prison. Jasher tells us that Moses did not return to Egypt until he was 80 years old. Jasher also says that Adikan only reigned shortly for 4 years. That means when Moses returned to Egypt, Adakam was either gone as Pharoah or was about to be gone. Jasher chapter 80:1 tells us that after Moses returned to Egypt, that Pharoah rejected the israelites permission to leave. So Jasher 80:1 tells us Moses did not ask Pharoah permission to leave again for 2 years. This would have been 2 years AFTER Jasher tells us Adikam reigned as Pharoah for 4 years. This would have been the 6th year of Adikams reign, but we know he only served 4 years.
We also know that the book of Jasher says that Adikam started his 4 year reign in the 206th year of Israel entering Egypt. God said they would be in Egypt for 215 years, a total of 430 since the day God gave Abraham the promise. So if Adikam started his reign in year 206, and it only lasted 4 years, then he could NOT have been the Pharoah when the Exodus took place.
Adikam was actually King Tutankhamun. Tut was appointed at age 10, so was Adikam. They have perfect parallels throughout Jasher and Egyptian history.
Please notice that from the time Moses returns to Egypt, with Aaron, Adikam is NEVER mentioned again throughout the rest of Jasher, because he died.
Even the Israelites are quoted when speaking about Adekam, and they said "he will die soon and his son will lesson our work". King Tut was a very sick person, who died or possibly malaria at a very young age. The Israelites knew Adakam (king tut) was dying, even though he was barely 20 years old according to Jasher). They were already waiting for the next Pharoah to come. Remember, Adikam only reigned till the 210th year of Israel being in egypt, which means the next pharoah needs to reign for 4 years until the exodus takes place in the beginning of the 215th year, the 1st month of that year.
Guess what? Egyptian history says the next Pharoah after Tut, was Pharoah "Ay", who they say ruled only 4 years! And then his body was never found, and never barried in its tomb in egypt. Also, pharoah Ay was so despised in egyptian history, he was completely expunged from memory. Probably because he led all of Egypt into slaughter because he refuse the one true God YHWY of the Hebrews.
In response to his inquiry, I wrote back the following:

Thanks for your comments on my article about Pharaoh. I read through what you wrote and I was almost convinced that I made a mistake, but then I realized that it is really you who made a mistake:
The mistake in your calculation is that for some reason you assume that the Exodus happened in the 215th year from when the Jews came to Egypt. Because of this, you needed to add another king after Adikam to get to the 215th year. But Jewish Tradition maintains that the Exodus happened in the year 210 since the Jews came to Egypt and the Book of Jasher explicitly says this as well. Accordingly, we don't need another king between Adikam and the Exodus because the Exodus happened in precisely the same year as Adikam's reign came to an end.
The only source I am aware of that says that the Jews lived in Egypt for 215 years in Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer ch. 48, but that source was starting the count five years earlier from the birth of Ephraim and Menashe (listen to my lecture about that here), such that if you count from when Jacob and his family to Egypt it still comes out to 210 years.
I hope to hear back from you soon. Thanks again for writing to me, I always appreciate it when people comment on things I've written...


Mr. Atwood then responded by writing:

Jasher says Moses was 76 years old when he was released from Midian prison. It says on this same year Adikam was 20 years old AND in his 1st year of reign as Pharoah.

My Hebrew Torah tells us that Moses was 80 years old when God commanded him to return to Egypt. That means this would have been at the end of Adikams 4 year reign. Jasher literally says that Adikam ONLY reigned for 4 years and that his reign started in the 206th year since the Israelites entered egypt. Were told in this same 206th year, Moses turned 76 years old and was released from midian prison (book of jasher).

206th year = Adikams 1st yr, Moses is 76
207th year = Adikams 2nd yr, Moses is 77
208th year = Adikams 3rd yr, Moses is 78
209th year = Adikams LAST YEAR AS PHAROAH, his 4th year of rule, and Moses just turns 79 years old. Moses doesnt return to Egypt until he is 80 years old.

So Adikam ISNT the Egyptian Pharoah in the 210th year, the start of the Exodus, when Moses turns 8 po years old and returns to Egypt.
Furthermore, Jasher tells us that after Moses and Aaron initially speak to Pharoah, after Moses turns 80 years old and returns to Egypt, that Aaron's staff swallows up the other staffs, Pharoah tells them to return the next day for his response. When they return, Pharoah says he will not let the people go.
Notice what happens next. Jasher tells us that Moses then leaves to dwell with his people and doesnt return for TWO YEARS!

It is 100% impossible for Adikam to still be Pharoah after this 2 years is up. Adikam reigned only 4 years NOT 6.

There are clues in Jasher that would have led you to understand Adikam was no longer Pharoah, had you read carefully and tested everything.

Jasher 80:57 "and Moses said to PHARAOH, behold though tho art thy mothers FIRST BORN, yet fear not, for thou wilt not die, for the Lord has commanded that thou shalt live, in order to show the his great might and strong stretched out arm".

Moses tells the Pharaoh that even though he is the FIRST BORN, he was spared from the plague of death that kills the FIRST BORN".

Was Adikam the FIRST BORN? Let's see.. .

Jasher 76:50-1 "And the king (Melol in Jasher, Ahkenaten in Egyptology) had three sons and two daughters which Aparanith the queen his wife borne to him. And these were their names, THE FIRST BORN OTHRI, the SECOND BORN Adikam, and the third born Morion".

Moses clearly says this new Pharoah, the Pharoah of the Exodus was the FIRST BORN. And God says he spacificly kept the FIRST BORN Pharoah alive. Adikam was not the first born male, Othri was.

So not only did the plagues START 6 years after Moses leaves prison, which is TWO YEARS AFTER Adikam leaves office as Pharoah, but the Pharoah of the Exodus according to Jasher MUST BE THE FIRST BORN, something you cannot argue against.

Let's look at some more facts that you overlook.

Milol, Adikams dad, were told reign 94 years long.

Jasher 63:9 "Melol (Akhenaten) was 20 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned ninety-four years". Ok, so when did his reign start? Look 5 verses earlier in the chapter.

Jasher 63:4 "And it came to pass in those days, in the HUNDRED AND SECOND YEAR of Israel's going down to Egypt, that Pharoah king of Egypt died (Magron/Amenhotep lll), and Melol his son reigned in his stead".

Let's do some math. If Melol became Pharoah in the 102nd year of Israel entering Egypt, and he reigned for 94 years, that means he stopped being Pharoah in year 196 of the Israelites being in Egypt. This is EXACTLY what Jasher says. And you say you believe Jasher. So once again, it shows that you are not reading carefully.

Were told that Adikam was named king at only 10 years old, which according to the math, was exactly in the 196th year, when Melol died. But Jasher 77:1-2 says that Adikam did not reign over Egypt until he was 20 years old, in the 206th year of Israel entering Egypt.

This tells us that we do not know who reigned over egypt from 196-206. It also tells us that Adikams reign of 4 years was from the 206th, 207th, 208th and 209th year the children of Israel entered egypt. Notice that 4 year span DOES NOT cover the 210th year.

The Exodus started in the 210th year, when Moses returned to Egypt, but the plagues did not start that year according to Jasher. According to Jasher, after Moses and Aaron return, and speak with Phatoah, their people are NOT realised from bondage. So what happens in the next verse? Moses says him and Aaron go and dwell with the Israelites for TWO YEARS!
So we can conclude that Moses returned in the 210th year, sparking the start of the Exodus process, but that the Exodus plagues and release from bondage would not happen for another 2 years.

See, this is what happens when you insist on going by your "traditions". Your own books prove your traditions to be wrong. Jews are constantly at odds with their own scripture, even honoring their false oral traditions over those of the written word of Torah.
I wrote back in response the following:
I'm actually fairly open to your ideas, I'm just testing their feasibility to see if they hold up. There's no need to attack me or my epistemological assumptions. That being said, I'm trying clarify some points. You very well might be correct that Adikam was no longer the king by the time of the Exodus according to Sefer HaYashar's internal chronology (although it would be a bit funny that that work wouldn't give us the name of the Pharaon who succeeded Adikam like it carefully gave us the names of other Pharaohs).
I CC'ed some people who might know more about this than I do so that maybe they can chime in and enhance the discussion and we can come out with a clearer conclusion:

You identified Adikam as Tutankhamun and his father Melol as Tut's father Ahkenaten (the famous "monotheistic" Pharoah), and his father or predecessor as Magron/Amenhotep lll. Is there any way of explaining how/why Sefer HaYashar has a different names for those kings and different reign lengths?
In this book, Alexander Hool notes that if you go down the list of kings, the only Pharaoh who was said to have ruled for 94 years (who could match up with Sefer HaYashar's Melol) is Pepi II. Pepi II's successor Neferkare the Younger reigned for exactly 1 year which (if Pepi = Melol) would be the end of the Exodus. Calculating backwards from that, Hool figures that Pharaoh Djedkare was the Pharaoh in the time of Joseph and that his very name resembles the name Dyen found in Zacuto's Sefer HaYuchasin.
Seder Olam writes that the death of the Pharaoh that happened right before the burning bush happened one year before the Exodus. This would imply that the Pharaoh who ruled Egypt at the time of the Exodus was king for only 1 year. Looking more closely at Sefer HaYashar, it says that they made Adikam king three years before Melol died, such that it seems that really Adikam was only king for one year on his own, not 4. (Although in the version of Sefer HaYashar found on Sefaria, it says 3 days not 3 years, this seems to be a typo). I'm not sure what to do with this point.
I realize the difficulty that you raised from the fact that Sefer HaYashar said that Moses waited 2 years from first approaching the Pharaoh until the Ten Plagues. There are similar traditions in Midrashim of him hiding for 3 months, 6 months, and even 1 year. The problem with Sefer HaYashar on this is that if you make a backwards calculation from Moses' death, it doesn't work out. If Moses was 80 when he first spoke to Pharaoh, then waited 2 years for the Exodus, then he would be 82 at the time of the Exodus. Now the Bible says the Jews were in the wilderness for 40 years, which should mean that when Moses died he was 122, but the Bible clearly says that he was 120 years old. So there is no room for an extra two years. This is a well-known question and there have been lots of answers proferred. The problem is most acute with Sefer HaYashar's approach. How would you answer this?
You raised another good question about Sefer HaYashar telling the Pharaoh that he is a firstborn which means he cannot be Adikam who was the 2nd born. I don't have a good answer to this, but I will point out that Moses also told Bithiah that she will be saved even though she is a firstborn. This is problematic because, as you mentioned, Othri was Melol's firstborn, not Adikam nor Bithiah. If you look closely, you will see that Moses said to the Pharaoh and to Bithiah that they are the firstborns to their mother. That's how all three (Othri, Adikam, and Bithiah) can be firstborns of Melol: they each had a different mother. I'm not convinced of this answer because when it was detailing the birth order of Melol's children, Sefer HaYashar clearly implies that they are all children of Alpharenas, the Pharaoh's wife.
Alexander Hool also tries to show how chronologically-speaking, the Exodus happened in the time of Pharaoh Thutmose II whom he argues ruled Middle Egypt (i.e. Memphis) at the same time that Neferkare the Younger ruled Northern Egypt and the 13th dynasty ruled southern Egypt. Greek-Egyptian historian Manetho mentions that God smote the Egyptians during the reign of Tutimaos, which sounds like an allusion to the Exodus story and Hool takes that to refer to Thutmose.
According to Hool, Ramses II who many believe was the Pharaoh at the Exodus lived in the time of the Judges and may have been named after the city which the Jews were enslaved to build (as opposed to vice versa that the city was named after the ruler).
You wrote that I said that I "believe Jasher." Let me clarify that I never said such a thing. In fact, while Sefer HaYashar may be a fun and interesting book to learn, it is not necessarily considered "canonical" with traditional Jewish literature. We don't know exactly when Sefer HaYashar was written, but many hold that Sefer ha-Yashar was written in the 1500's when it was first published. The earliest view that I found was that it was written slightly earlier than that in the Geonic period (except for one ridiculous source who says that maybe it was written by Moses, with apologies to the Vilna Gaon's son Rabbi Avraham), probably around the 900-1000's in Italy. This seems to be the scholarly consensus. My personal theory is that Sefer HaYashar is a literary work that partially draws on and embellishes an earlier (no-longer-extant) Midrash known as Midrash Abkir. Obviously, there is no reason to take the book's introduction that claims it was discovered by a Roman soldier at the time of the Temple's destruction too seriously.
Yes, I know that Josh. 10:13 and II Sam. 1:18 refer to something called Sefer HaYashar, but there is no reason to think that this is the book called Sefer HaYashar that we are discussing any more than there is reason to think it refers to any book called Sefer HaYashar that we have nowadays. Nachmanides mentions something called the "Midrash of the Wars of the Sons of the Jacob" which some identify as Sefer ha-Yashar, and about which Nachmanides writes that he is unsure whether it is genuine work (an uncertainty echoed by the contemporary leader Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky in the introduction to his recent edition of this work), leaving open the possibility that this work is part of rabbinic tradition.
You should know that I have spent many years studying Sefer HaYashar and different aspects related to it, yet I do not accept everything it says conclusively. It is certainly not a traditional work, even if it is fun and enjoyable to study and even though there were some rabbis who took it seriously (like Seder HaDoros). When Sefer HaYashar contradicts our more accepted literature like the Bible itself and like the Midrashim (especially Seder Olam and the Talmud), then we generally disregard what Sefer HaYashar says. I really think that we might be relying too much on Sefer HaYashar to make absolute claims.

Matt Atwood then replied to my email with the following:

Regarding Bithia, Jasher says that she was the first born of the females born to Pharoah Melol (maybe Akhenaten). I believe the canon says the first born males died, bit Jasher says the first born of both the males and females died. I agree with you that although Jasher is fun to read, I've found questions with it. I trust the book of Jubilees far more than I trust Jasher.
Jubilees says that a Canannite king defeated an Egyptian Pharoah in battle the same year Joseph died, and took over all of Egypt.
I always try to force this Cannanite king to be "Akhenaten" in my mind, because Akhenaten was the most hated king in Egyptian history and is said to have changed almost every single egyptian tradition against the peoples will, which is what a cannanite king would have done, having no ties to their gods. Himoheb is famous for completely eliminating Akhenaten, Tut and Ay from Egyptian history. It wasnt until recently that archeologist were able to find new discoveries proving that these pharoahs even exsisted because so much of their exsistance had been covered up by Pharoah Himoheb. Himoheb even had written on a tablet that Akhenaten was "the enemy" and called him "that criminal". If my speculation is true, and Akhenaten was a foreign king who invaded Egypt and took over, it makes since why Akhenaten was called "the enemy", and explains why he even relocated egypts capital city and temples to his own brand new city, unheard of in prior egyptian rule. Akhenaten is the first king to make a monotheistic god as opposed to polytheistic "gods". Monotheistic was a tradition of Canaan at that time. If I am right that Tut (Adikam) and Ay (Othri) were Akhenatens sons and ruled after him, it makes perfect sence why Horemheb chose to completely eliminate all 3 of them from the egyptian record. Horemheb then says that he took over as Pharoah directly after Amenhotep 3 as if Akenhaten, Tut and Ay never exsisted.

Also interesting is that to this day they do not believe that they have recovered Akhenaten or Ays bodies. They tried to claim they found Akhenatens, but in reality they admit that all they know if that the DNA testing shows that whoever they found was related to Tut somehow. The tombs made for Akhenaten and Ay were both found to be empty of bodies. Interesting because Jasher says Akhenatens body was so rotting that Egypt couldnt properly embalm his body and they rushed his funeral. And if Pharoah Ay (Othri) was the Pharoah of the Exodus and ended up ruler of Ninevah (a part hittite country at the time) it explains 2 things. #1 why his body was never barried in the egyptian tomb prepared for his death, and why his wife Mut wrote letters to a hittite king asking for him to send a son for her to marry because she had noone to mary in her country. If all the of age males died in the Red sea like the bible says, and if her husband Ay permenantly goes to rule Ninevah like Jasher claims, then she would have been left in Egypt with no males of age to marry. And explains why she would contact the country her old husband now rules, to request a new husband. Remember, prior to the Exodus the hittites are the sworn #1 enemy of Egypt. So how all the sudden a year or so later is an egyptian queen requesting a hittite king send her one of his sons for marriage?

I've found that certain number in Jasher compared to the book of Jubilees do not at first glance appear to coincide with my theories.

The book of Jubilees says the cannanite king who took over egypt the year Joesph died was the Pharoah who put the israelites into bondage and slave labor. We know Jasher says the Pharoah who did this was Pharoah Melol (Akhenaten). So Its easy to see why they could be the same Pharoah.

Jubilees says this canannite Pharoah takes over in 2263 AM (after man, Adam).

It says Moses is born in 2330.

It says Moses is 21 years old when he kills the egyptian amd flees egypt (Jasher uses the age of 18). Jubilees says Moses flees Egypt in the year 2351 (which would be 88 years into this cannanite pharoahs rule). Although Jubilees never mentions another pharoahs name after the cananite king takes over, so I have no way of knowing who Jubilees claims is the current pharoah.

And then Jubilees says Moses returns to Egypt in the year 2410 (if we subtract 2410 from the year Jubilees says Moses was born, then Moses would indeed be 80 when he returned to Egypt).

So at least that part adds up. BUT, from the year the cannanite king took over in 2263, to the year Moses returns, means that the cannanite king would now be 147 years into his reign, which we know isnt even an option. And that's where I get completely thrown off track and tend to quit believing Jasher.

Anyways, I thought it was an excellent point that you brought up about Adikams "4 year reign". It does seen to claim in Jasher that Akhenaten continued living for 3 of the 4 years Adikam ruled. Which could definatly explain a technical "1 year reign" of Adikam.

My last interesting funfact that I discovered is that Pharoah Ay named his 1st born son, Nakhtmin as his successor to the crown according to Ays unused tomb wall stellas. But we know Nakhtmin NEVER ruled Egypt after Pharoah Ay. But that Horemheb because ruler and destroyed all of Ays history that Horemheb could find. One possible explanation as to why Nakhtmin never took over as Pharoah would be that he died on the passover during the Exodus. The book of Exodus tells us Pharoahs first born son died. If Ay (Othri) was the Pharoah of the Exodus (much speculation on my part), his son would have died at the Red Sea. Meaning he had no other sons to take over the throne if he died. In Egyptian culture, then next in line to the throne is the general of the army or the high priest, assuming the Pharoah has no sons or daughters, and his wife doesnt take over. Horemheb was the captain of his military. Horemheb was also supposed to be the successor to Tut, but it appears Ay out started him to the crown somehow.

I forget where I read it, but somewhere it stated that Tut sent Horemhep out on a military campaign to another country. While Horemheb was gone, Tut died shortly after unexpectedly, and Ay named himself Pharoah and quickly married Tuts wife, sealing him as next Pharoah. Horemheb was apparently furious and by the time he returned, Ay took all of egypts men and got them killed in the Red Sea, then left for Ninevah. Horemheb would have been named Pharoah, and it now makes sence why he would be so furious that he would wipe out all of Ays history as Pharoah. And since Ay was Tuts brother (my speculation) and Alhenatens son (again my speculation) it makes sence why Horemheb deletes all 3 of these Pharoahs from egyptian history.

Anyways, thanks for listening. It seems even my theories cannot perfectly align to all the sources we are attempting to use. You are very knowledgable on this subject, your email was very fun to read and contemplate. Best regards. And sorry for all the typos, I just woke up and wrote this on my small phone and did not proof read or spell check anything.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Reviews around the Web of God versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry

In this post, I hope to cull from all over the internet various book reviews of my latest hit God versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry (Mosaica Press, 2018). You can click the links provided to see the full reviews, I'll just pull out some interesting points from each of them. You can also check out the book's Amazon page for more book reviews.



The esteemed Rabbi Israel Drazin wrote about my book on his blog (and in his Times of Israel blog) that my book is "filled with information on every page about Jewish history, ideology, God, idols, superstition, and mistakes made by the ancients.... even readers who dislike his approach will benefit by learning about the problems created when we try to understand biblical narratives, Jewish history, and why the ancients worshipped idols, and they will be prompted to think of their own solution to the problems that are raised." Kudos to him for taking the time to write about my work!

Aaron Rubin over at Mystical Paths writes quite enthusiastically about this book:
For several months now I have been reading the essays of Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein... His most recent work, 'G-d versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry', follows suit, resulting in a composition that is nothing short of groundbreaking. His analysis and compilation of sources is more than illuminating; it is inspiring, presenting a wealth of sources, both from the traditional, Jewish sources - from the Talmud to the Zohar to more recent commentaries - and from the secular, academic world.
If you are interested in biblical history, in the etymology of the various idols and pagan deities mentioned in the Torah, what they mean and how they impact the narrative, or in how the cultural milieu of the ancient Near East impacted on the lives of the Jewish people, from their genesis until the end of Tanach and beyond[!], you must read this book.

My book was mentioned by the Jewish Press in "Titles That Caught Our Eye" and then was later treated to a full-length book review by Ben Rothke (which also appeared on his Times of Israel blog). His conclusion reads:
This is a fascinating book that clarifies some of the most challenging topics in the books of the Prophets. Klein does a thorough job of detailing what was occurring, the drive to incorporate idolatry into the services, and the power of idolatry that was able to enrapture a nation.
As Alan Jay Gerber, the Kosher Bookworm, wrote in The Jewish Star: "Rabbi Klein’s teachings are staunchly traditional, coupled with a full appreciation for modern scholarship. As in his previous works, he carefully footnotes his sources, giving the reader a chance to research everything cited in this valued work."

The inimitable Rabbi Jack Abramowitz writes a glowing review of my book on the OU website. In a nutshell he says:
Idolatry and the people’s interactions with it are so integral to the Books of the Neviim that I daresay one cannot fully appreciate the narrative, nor the prophets’ continual exhortations, without at least an intellectual understanding of what it was that motivated so much of our history. This is where God versus gods comes in.

Rabbi Jeff Bienenfeld, a close disciple of the late R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, wrote over at the Jewish Link NJ:
The subtitle of Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein’s remarkable study says a great deal about the immense task Rabbi Klein assumed in researching his fascinating book, “God versus Gods.” The subtitle, “Judaism in the Age of Idolatry,” sets an enormous challenge for anyone attempting to chronicle the role idolatry played in the religious culture and history of the Jewish people from biblical times until the destruction of the First Temple. With the Churban HaBayit, our sages teach that the worship of idols as an ancient cultic practice for all intents and purposes ceased. Over this lengthy time period, from mankind’s earliest days until some three and a half millennia later, Rabbi Klein offers an exhaustive and substantive account of how the Jewish people variously succumbed to and resisted, promoted and fought to eradicate this most pernicious of transgressions. Because there are few sins whose prohibitions are as many in the Torah as idolatry, and because this sin is the central focus of the prophets’ rebuke and chastisement in Neviim, the topic deserves careful and studious attention. Rabbi Klein’s work provides just that.
The Former Chief Rabbi of Australia, Rabbi Raymond Apple, wrote a comprehensive review of my book in the Jerusalem Post and at J-Wire where, inter alia, he notes:
In this new book, Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein tells the story through the eyes of the Oral Torah sources.  His book is fascinating and is far more than it appears.  Despite its title, it does not limit itself to the nature and influence of ancient idolatry.  It looks deeply into the meaning of God in Biblical history, asks why anyone in their right mind would choose to worship idols, wondering whether ancient man could believe both in God and in idolatry, asking whether idolatry still exists, and tapping into the major problem of how we should read the Bible and what we mean by Biblical truth.
The one and only Rabbi Naftali Kassorla (Director of Kollel Toras Chaim and a Maggid Shiur at Yeshivas Tiferes Yisroel in Jerusalem) read the book and graciously offered his thoughts on Ari Enkin's blog Torah Book Reviews. Rabbi Kassorla wrote:
The Torah world can once again rejoice, as one of its rising stars, Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein, the author of Lashon HaKodesh: History, Holiness, & Hebrew has produced another impressive work in God versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry... Rabbi Klein does an immaculate job at presenting us with the different approaches to understanding the history of how the battle between idol worship and monotheism played out. It is worthy to be added to anyone’s bookshelf. I found his book enlightening, intriguing, and entertaining, and I strongly suggest it to others as well.

The famous Jblogger Chaviva Gordon-Bennett did a video book review which you can see right here:
Don't be put off by the book's price on Amazon, you can search around the different Seforim Stores on the web to find the cheapest price. Here are some stores that sell my book:
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By the way, my book also has a Goodreads page, a Google Books page, and it appeared in the New Jewish Books blog of the Jewish Book World. It was also featured in the Books to Love blog. The Association of Jewish Libraries also featured my book in the May/June 2019 edition of their AJL Reviews. Here's 
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Friday, November 09, 2018

Rabbi Yaakov Zev Lev


With a heavy heart, I dedicated this week's article to the memory of my dear friend Rabbi Yaakov Zev Lev (1946-2018). He passed away this past Monday after battling cancer for several months. Rabbi Lev was originally from the USA, but came as a youngster to the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, where he figuratively became "part of the furniture" in the Beis Midrash. For Rabbi Lev, every day of Torah Study was as exciting as the previous. He was said to have learned with the same chavrusa for forty years! Rabbi Lev was a master Talmid Chacham and authored the work Me'at Tzari, a commentary to Targum Onkelos. I personally spoke to him from time to time (usually at his seat in the Main Beis Midrash of the Mir during lunch time) and he always had the kindest, most encouraging things to say. He will sorely be missed. 
לע"נ הרה"ג יעקב זאב ב"ר ישראל לב זצ"ל. תנצב"ה.

Pictured: Rabbi Yaakov Zev Lev reading a Kesubah, to his right stands Rabbi Binyomin Finkel of the Mir Yeshiva.

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