By Motti Wilhelm
There are different approaches to the study of Halacha. Some view Halacha as a checklist, albeit a slightly complicated one. Halacha, they claim, is there to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a long list of questions that crop up in their life. Others have a distinctly different idea of what they view as true study of Halacha. They explain that the study is meant to be in depth, delving into the sources, closely examining the wording of the Talmud and early commentaries, while having little connection to regular life.
Yet there is another way, a different approach. One where Halacha is meant to be a journey, connecting the abstract to the practical, elevating our mundane daily acts by finding out the perspective of our holy Torah on those very actions.
It is precisely this approach that is used by Dayan Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Raskin in his new book Journeys in Halacha. In this newly published book, Dayan Raskin puts forth a variety of cases he personally dealt with, journeying alongside the reader through the halls of Torah study to come to a solution. Following in the footsteps of the popular Nesivim B’sdeh Hashlichus series Journeys in Halacha presents many of the same articles, as well as a wealth of new material, in a lucid, easy to read English.
Many chapters in the book discuss scenarios that occur on a frequent basis. In the average household, questions regarding amirah l’nochri (asking a non-Jew to perform a melacha for a Jew on Shabbos) crop up regularly. Selected halachos of tzitzis, laws of brachos, deliveries arriving on Shabbos, and davening Maariv early on late summer nights are some of the other topics covered.
Other chapters in the book discuss Halachic questions posed to Dayan Raskin by specific individuals. A shliach in Iceland who asked what to do in the summer when it never gets dark. A man who tried to convince an acquaintance to put on tefillin, only to be told that he will only agree if the man first puts tefillin on his non-Jewish son. While these cases may not come to practical use, the intriguing questions and fascinating answers make the read more than worthwhile.
Without doubt Journeys in Halacha will fast become a favorite, especially for those who enjoy seforim in English. It is perfect addition to any personal or public library, and makes a great gift for any occasion. Grab the first opportunity to purchase yourself a copy and enjoy the learning.