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Maimonides the Commandments
Maimonides the Commandments
by Charles B. Chavel
Edition: Hardcover
7 used & new from $19.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maimonides list with extensive comments on the 613 commandments, February 2, 2015
This superb translation presents Maimonides discussions on the 613 commandments.

The first report that the Torah contains 613 commandments occurred in the third century C.E., when Rabbi Simlai mentioned it in a sermon that is recorded in the Babylonian Talmud, Makkot 23b. We do not know if he invented the number 613 because it made his point: a person should observe the Torah with all his body parts (248) every day (365), the two numbers equaling 613. “Rabbi Simlai gave as a sermon (darash Rabi Simlai): 613 commandments were communicated to Moses, 365 negative commands, corresponding to the number of solar days [in a year], and 248 positive commands, corresponding to the number of the members [bones covered with flesh] of a man’s body.”

Ibn Ezra recognized that if one counts all of the divine commandments recorded in the Bible, the number would be well over a thousand; and that if only the commandments relevant to his day were numbered, the total would be less than three hundred. He wrote in his Yesod Moreh 2, “Some sages enumerate 613 mitzvot [divine commandments] in diverse ways…but the truth is that there is no end of the number of mitzvot…and if we were to count only the root principles…the number of mitzvot would not reach 613.”

Nachmanides writes in his commentary to Maimonides’ Sefer Hamitzvot that the 613 count is a matter of dispute and there is no certainty that it is true, but since “this total has proliferated throughout the aggadic literature…we ought to say that it is a tradition from Moses at Sinai.”
Rabbi Shimon ben Tzemach Duran (1361–1444) summed up the above-mentioned views in his Zohar Harakia: “Perhaps the agreement that the number 613…is just Rabbi Simlai’s opinion, following his own explication [account] of the mitzvot. And we need not rely on his explication when we come to determine the law, but rather on the talmudic discussion.”

In view of the facts mentioned above, it should come as no surprise that the early attempts to list the 613 commandments failed. In his introduction to his own listing, in Sefer Hamitzvot, Maimonides pointed out such errors as including post-biblical rabbinical commandments such as the lighting of Chanukah candles in the list of biblical commandments.

Maimonides’ itemization of the 613 biblical commandments is the most logical, but it is not accepted by all rabbis. Nachmanides, for example, rejected some of his items and included others.

There is one serious problem with Maimonides’ list, which, as far as I can determine, has not been mentioned by anyone.
Many of the biblical laws, if not all of them, have been modified and explained by the rabbis in ways that are not explicit in the Torah. For example, Rashbam recognized that when the Bible states that the law that is being mentioned shall be a sign between the eyes and a sign on the hand it means that the law should be remembered always whenever you look or do anything. Rashbam explains that the law of tefillin, which the rabbis derive from these verses, is not the original biblical intent.

Yet Maimonides includes tefillin as two of the 613 biblical commandments, listing a commandment that may have been enacted by the rabbis and, in any event, not explicitly written in the Torah as a mitzvah d’oraita.

How Should Maimonides Be Interpreted? It would be absurd to say that Maimonides did not realize that virtually all, if not all, of the commandments that he enumerated are the rabbinical interpretation of the Bible, not explicit biblical commandments. Thus, although he does not say so, we should understand that he listed those commandments that the rabbis said were biblical in origin.


Mekilta De-Rabbi Ishmael
Mekilta De-Rabbi Ishmael
by Jacob Z. (Jacob Zallel) Lauterbach
Edition: Paperback
28 used & new from $14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a must-read classic, February 2, 2015
This is a classic work on one of the oldest Midrashim, plural of Midrash, by a preeminent scholar. Dr. Lauterbach introduces his now famed translation, done in 1933, with a 64 page scholarly but very readable and informative introduction. A Midrash is a homiletical book, a series of sermons on the biblical text that teach people about God and nature, frequently with parables that should not be taken literally. Midrashim also contain laws. Anyone interested in knowing about the early views, most still held today, about the Bible need to read Midrashim, whether they accept the early views or not. Virtually all Jewish commentaries refer to the early Midrashim, those composed before the year 400 CE, as well as the later ones. There were two schools of thought in the second century CE. Rabbi Akiva felt that since the Torah is from God and God does not repeat or say anything unnecessary, we must interpret every word, even every letter. Rabbi Ishmael felt that the Torah is designed for people and speaks in the language of people, sometimes repeating words or thoughts for emphasis or for poetic reason. This Mekilta is from the school of Rabbi Ishmael.


The Sabbath
The Sabbath
by Samuel H. Dresner
Edition: Paperback
30 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Ode to the Sabbath, February 2, 2015
This review is from: The Sabbath (Paperback)
Rabbi Dresner writes a paean to the Sabbath pointing out, as my father said, “More than the Jew has kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jew,” meaning that if Jews keep the Sabbath they will find themselves observing all or most Jewish practices. The Sabbath is so important that it is the only Jewish holiday that is mentioned in the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments. People today are involved in a daily war with nature, with society, and with themselves. The Sabbath brings people a weekly peace and liberates them from modern bondage. It teaches the Jew the importance of time well-spent, to sanctify time, and to bring a dimension of holiness into the profane rhythm of live. It brings joy, love, devotion. It reunites families kept apart by their activities during the week. Foods taste better on the Sabbath. It is like greeting a queen and like being with a bride on a wedding night. It has a special delightful mood as if the Jew is given an extra soul, not as a burden, but a feeling of peace and joy. If we could “shut down the world one day a week, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in.” The Sabbath turns man back to his true self.” ”It is true that the Sabbath is the single most important institution in Jewish life and law.”


XXX (Widescreen Special Edition)
XXX (Widescreen Special Edition)
DVD ~ Vin Diesel
Price: $6.59
496 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fast moving thriller, February 1, 2015
This is a thriller with a young Van Diesel who looks good and is good in performing actions – or, if they are done by extras, making us think he did them. There are close copies of James Bond in the film, although Van Diesel acts as a thug rather than a suave agent. There is a man who gives Van Diesel all kind of gadgets, unique guns, a special car with a host of items, a chase over snow, a speeding car, wise cracks, gangsters who want to destroy the world, a criminal girl, and the ending where he is kissing a girl while his boss is trying to contact him.
The plot is that the American government is unable to infiltrate the gang of a person who is doing much harm. They pick Van Diesel to do it because he is a well-known thug, and the gangsters would not think he is a secret agent. Van Diesel agrees to do the mission rather than go to jail. He is manipulated by the government several times.


The Complete Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Complete Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Price: $0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A free book filled with interesting classical poems, February 1, 2015
It is truly wonderful that amazon makes available famed classical works whose copyrights have expired available to its customers for free. People should take advantage of this and acquire the books and read them. They are considered classics because people liked them and leaned from them. This book is a good example. While readers may not enjoy all of Longfellow’s works, they will almost certainly enjoy some of them.
This book contains all of his poems and all of his translations – from Swedish, Danish, German, Anglo-Saxon, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Greek – except for the Divine Comedy. The poems are usually printed in chronological order. There is a Table of Contents that takes up many pages. Unfortunately the Table of Contents does not have page numbers and does not allow users to touch the item in the Table and have the kindle move immediately to that item. This aid does exist for some other books. There are over 1500 pages in this book.
Readers will find in this volume many writings they did not know Longfellow wrote such as a four act play on Judah Maccabaeus.


Search for the Pirate's Treasure
Search for the Pirate's Treasure
Price: $0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new fascinating approach to telling about pirates, January 31, 2015
Gaston takes a different approach with this book. Rather than telling a tale about pirates, he introduces readers to what a pirate ship looks like inside. I think that children will find this fascinating.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Poems & Other Writings: (Library of America #118)
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Poems & Other Writings: (Library of America #118)
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.26
132 used & new from $5.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good but not complete collections of Longfellow's writings, January 31, 2015
Longfellow is of course for many the foremost American poet. This book, although over 800 pages gives on selections of his writings. It includes his famous poems such as Evangeline, Hiawatha, The Village Blacksmith, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, and dozens of others. While most are just parts of the poems, the book includes the book-length narratives of Evangeline and The Song of Hiawatha. It also includes the full novel Kavanaugh that Ralph Waldo Emerson considered the important contribution to the development of American Fiction.


Aesop's Fables; a new translation
Aesop's Fables; a new translation
Price: $0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good translation of the famous tales with the ability to touch a tale in the table of contents and move to the tale, January 30, 2015
This 96 page free kindle book is a great buy. The stories are translated in easy to read English and will be enjoyed by young and old. There are a wealth of interesting tales, dozens. Readers can touch a title in the table of contents and will be taken immediately to the touched story. Many of the short delightful tales have important morals and advice after the tale, such as: “Better poverty without care than wealth with obligation” and “Betray a friend and you’ll find you have ruined yourself.”


The Raven
The Raven
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading often, January 30, 2015
This review is from: The Raven (Kindle Edition)
This poem is worth reading over and over again. Poe had a hard time until he published this poem. It made him and can cause us joy.


Aesop's Fables (Illustrated)
Aesop's Fables (Illustrated)
Price: $0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A free book that contains a wealth of interesting stoires with profound lessons, January 30, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is an excellent buy. The kindle version is free. The book contains many dozens of Aesop's short tales with their profound messages, good for young and old. The book also has an extensive very informative introduction that comprises 15 percent of the entire book.


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