Having so much enjoyed (is that a sufficiently strong word?) Jewish Marriage: A Halakhic Ethic I didn't even think twice about picking this up at a usHaving so much enjoyed (is that a sufficiently strong word?) Jewish Marriage: A Halakhic Ethic I didn't even think twice about picking this up at a used book sale, so much so that after seeing the name of the author, I didn't even bother to check the title of the book. Clearly, it was something I'd be interested in.
One might think that it would be difficult to live up to an expectation like that, but Rabbi Bulka rises to the occasion with a clear, logical, and well-organized work that touches on a slew of interesting and relevant topics.
Even as someone who has made it her business to be well-versed in Jewish knowledge through self-study(not to mention having spent 2 years in seminary) I still found myself learning a bunch of new stuff here. My appreciation of this book also was probably increased since I happened to have a conversation with a friend who's husband's co-workers are Jewish, and strongly identify as such, but who suffer a whole world of misconceptions about Jewish practice and beliefs. ("You believe that the stories of the bible actually took place?!?!?!?!"..."I'm sorry for offending you with my talk of Evolution.") It's unfortunate that this book is out of print and has not been recently updated. It should be made widely available for the masses. I think so many people would be interested in, and could benefit from, this book.
I failed to give this book a fifth star, however, because Rabbi Bulka takes such a strict rationalist approach that his viewpoints differ from what I have specifically learned (from famous Jewish scholars who source their material) in a mere handful of areas. Bulka also presents in black and white some areas that would better be painted grey, and mentions Sefardi traditions almost as an afterthought, although these traditions hold equal weight (though I suppose this criticism could be explained by assuming that he is primarily addressing his congregants and others like them, in which case the number of sefardim would be few.
Those areas in which I believe he may not have presented a fully accurate picture make me view the book in somewhat of a suspect manner, but since I found most of his information to be accurate, and even spot on according to my knowledge, I see no reason to cast aspersions on the entire work, but rather on those handful of occasions and the few areas of information with which I was not already familiar. While this might bring into question the value of the entire book for me, I think most of the content within is crucial (as Rabbi Bulka mentions) and I cannot think of a better way to disseminate this knowledge, short of re-editing and distributing the book myself, which would carry an element of arrogance that I don't even want to consider possessing....more
It's funny how sometimes the story of how a book makes its way into your hands can affect your expectations of the reading experience.
I got this bookIt's funny how sometimes the story of how a book makes its way into your hands can affect your expectations of the reading experience.
I got this book free, curbside, in a box of dusty, outdated, unwanted volumes. The cover's colors were subdued, though brighter than anything else found in the carton. I picked it up and took it home. There was no reason, other than that hoarding MIGHT run in my family.
The book looked so unappealing that it sat on my bookshelf, and then, after I got married, another bookshelf, for over a year, spanning 2 apartments. Two days ago something compelled me to pick it up. Perhaps a desire to declutter my life without going through piles of things.
This book surprised me! Although at a first glance it seemed both preachy and outdated, and there is an element of truth to that first glance, what sounded like a cheesy presentation turned out to be just the ticket. Having serious information wrapped up in a story with very little of it's own content doesn't sound like it would work, but here, it works beautifully. The idea of a "book within a book" will appeal to the young adult reader, and the concepts contained within are truly of value if you're looking for an authentic traditional Jewish viewpoint.
As for the "outdated" component, it was both entertaining and refreshing. The mention of a "sound-video recorder" (because video cameras in the 80's were often silent) I found to be quaint and charming. And the names of the characters belies a change in "Jewish culture" that has been made for the better in the past decades. While I do believe that it's good to use one's Hebrew/Jewish name exclusively, there are many who would argue that "that's the way it's always been done, and this book cheerfully proves otherwise. So for those who like to re-write history to match their points of view, I show this book.
Both for its content and entertaining presentation, and its historical value, I really thoroughly enjoyed this book. I'd certainly recommend it to any Bar-Mitzvah boy who is intelligent enough to appreciate it....more
This is THE best and most thorough shalom bayit book I have ever read. The author is both a rav and a therapist, and he brings both of these positionsThis is THE best and most thorough shalom bayit book I have ever read. The author is both a rav and a therapist, and he brings both of these positions and skill-sets to his authorship. A must-read for all those married or contemplating marriage....more
I was familiar with the halachot(Jewish laws) in general, so this just kind of provided a summary of the details. Because of my prior knowledge, the sI was familiar with the halachot(Jewish laws) in general, so this just kind of provided a summary of the details. Because of my prior knowledge, the stories didn't really speak to me at all. I personally felt that they were unnecessary in my case. But the halacha was certainly presented in a pretty clear and concise manner.
I'm looking forward to the artscroll book on the same topic. For long term reference, it seems to be a better choice. For initial study, though, this one is probably much better....more
Although the cover looked boring and outdated (Yes, I judge books on their covers, sue me!) the contents were anything but. Clear, relevant, interestiAlthough the cover looked boring and outdated (Yes, I judge books on their covers, sue me!) the contents were anything but. Clear, relevant, interesting, well-thought out articles about topics in medical halacha, with a few surprising outcomes.
I'd definitely recommend this to anyone interested in halacha who is working in, studying, or involved in medicine. ...more
My father and I learned this book together over skype. We didn't read it every single day, but rather as often as we were able. Even without the momenMy father and I learned this book together over skype. We didn't read it every single day, but rather as often as we were able. Even without the momentum of daily learning, this was an invaluable tool for moving our minds and hearts closer to davening, increasing our enthusiasm as well as the way in which we go about prayer. The book is non-threatening and user-friendly and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their tfillah experience and how they connect to G-d....more