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

New Release - God versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry


Mosaica Press together with Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein have just released a new ground-breaking work entitled God versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry.

God versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry seeks to understand the Bible’s accounts of polytheism, follows its history, and focuses on the struggle between Jewish Monotheism and pagan/idolatrous cults in the Biblical period. An extended section is devoted to understanding the Talmudic concept concerning the paradigm shift which emptied the world of the Evil Inclination for Avodah Zarah, and its implications from a religious perspective. 

This unique work delves into the Bible’s view of the history of idolatry, as well as the hermeneutical, philological, Kabbalistic, and Halachic approaches to this topic taken by various Rabbinic figures through the ages. The second part of this book consists of an encyclopedia that lists and elaborates upon every foreign deity mentioned in the Bible. The author also compares and contrasts traditional Jewish views to those of modern-day academia (addressing archeology and philology of the Levant), offering proofs and difficulties to both approaches.

As the old saying goes, “Two Jews, three opinions.” In almost every chapter, more than one way of looking at the matter at hand is presented. In some cases, the differing opinions can be harmonized, but ultimately many matters remain subject to dispute. Hopefully, the mere knowledge of these sources will whet the reader’s intellectual curiosity to learn more.

Written by a brilliant young scholar, God versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry is ground-breaking, intriguing, and remarkable. This book is available on amazon.com and at better Jewish bookstores near you. For review copies or bulk orders please contact rabbircklein@gmail.com

Besides on Amazon, the books are also available at other Online Jewish Bookstores:

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