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Author: Seforimchatter

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The Seforimchatter podcast is dedicated to the discussion of Seforim (holy texts and works pertaining to them), Jewish (non-sacred) Books, Jewish History and more. The variety of guests include rabbis, professors, historians, authors, editors, and others in the field.For more information or to sponsor a show, check out @seforimchatter on Twitter or email
46 Episodes
#46.With R' Moshe Kravetz discussing Rav Ovadiah Sforno: His life and works. R' Kravetz edited and published critical editions of the Sforno on Chumash, various of his Seforim on Nach, Avos, shiurim of a Talmid on Chumash and Tehillim. We discussed the Sforno's life, how to pronounce his name, Italian jewry, his Seforim, Ohr Amim (which the Sforno translated into latin and dedicated it to King Henry II of France), Shlomo Molcho & David HaReuveni, Sforno teaching Reuchlin, Rav Eliyahu BAchur (Elijah Levita), and more
#45.With Prof. Joseph Davis (Prof. of Jewish Thought, Gratz College) discussing the Tosfos Yom Tov (Rav Yom Tov Lipmann Heller ZT'L) and his biography of him, "Yom-Tov Lipmann Heller: Portrait of a Seventeenth-Century Rabbi"We discussed his life, Prague in the 16th & 17th centuries, relationship with Maharal & Shelah, his imprisonment & release, his works, no talking during davening, and much more.To purchase the book:
#44.With Dr. Steve Weiss of LA discussing Pirkei Avos and his Bibliography of it.We alos discuss his vast collection of "every" Sefer published on Pirkei Avos, other topics he collects on, cholera & judaism, and more.For a copy of the bibliography please email Dr. Weiss:
#43. With Prof. Joanna Weinberg (Professor Emerita in early modern Jewish history and Rabbinics, University of Oxford and Hebrew lecturer at Exeter College, Oxford) discussing Azariah De' Rossi (Min HaAdumin) and his work, "Me'or Enayim". We discussed his biography, Philo of Alexandria, Rav Yehuda Moscato, the Maharal, and many more.  Also discussed was the ban issued by the rabbonim of Italy, the ban of the Beis Yosef as mentioned by the Chida, the Maharal's opposition, and much more.   To purchase Prof. Weinberg's complete translation, "The Light of the Eyes":
#41.With Prof. Clémence Boulouque (Carl and Bernice Witten Assistant Professor in Jewish and Israel studies at Columbia University) discussing Rav Elia Benamozegh and her newly published book about him, "Another Modernity: Elia Benamozegh 's Jewish Universalism ".We discuss his printing press, the ban on Eim LaMikra, his french disciple Aimé Pallière, Israel & Humanities, and more.To purchase the book: code MODERNITY20 for 20% off.
#40.With Prof. Pawel Maciejko (associate professor of history and Leonard and Helen R. Stulman chair of Classical Jewish Religion, Thought, and Culture at Johns Hopkins University) discussing Rav Yonason Eybeschutz and the "Emden-Eybeschutz" controversy, and Prof. Maciejko's forthcoming book on the topic.We discuss Rav Yaakov Emde, Rav Yonason's censored edition of Mesechtas Berachos, the amulets ("kameya"), other rabbinical opposition (Pnei Yehoshua, Noda B'Yehuda), and more To purchase his book, "Sabbatian Heresy" (a collection of translated sources about sabbatiansim):
#39.With Prof. Steven Nadler (William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy and Evjue-Bascom Professor in Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) discussing Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel., and the biography that Prof. Nadler wrote, "Menasseh ben Israel: Rabbi of Amsterdam".To purchase the book: Use code YAC99 for 30% off
#37.With Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein discussing his book, "God versus Gods: Judaism in the age of Idolatry" which discusses Avodah Zarah in Tanach. The book also includes a comprehensive encyclopedia of all the various Avodah Zarah mentioned in Tanach.To purchase the book: purchase Rabbi Klein's 1st book, "Lashon HaKodesh":
#36.With Rabbi Mordechai Lebhar (Rosh Kollel of LINK Kollel in LA) discussing Machin Magen Avot and the various Seforim he has published. Shu's Rav Chaim Dovid Serero, Chachmei Castille Al HaTorah, Shita Ktav Yad on Mesechet Yoma from Rav Avraham Ibn Musah, amd his own sefeorim, Magen Avot (Moroccan Minhagim).We also discussed the authors and various Moroccan Gedolim.
#35. With Prof. Sara Reguer (Chair of Judaic Studies at Brooklyn College) discussing her book, "My Father's Journey: A Memoir of Lost Worlds of Jewish Lithuania".We discuss her grandfather, Rav Simcha Zelig Reguer ZT'L Av Beis Din of Brisk, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik ZT'L, her father's time in the yeshiva world and more. We also mentioned Rav Moshe Soloveitchik, Rav Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, Rav Shlomo Heiman, Rav Shach and much more.• *CLARIFICATION*: As per Yehuda Geberer of the Jewish History Soundbites Podcast:• The Brisker Rov did not  escape through Switzerland. His escape route was as follows: As the war broke out during the summer, he was at a resort with his oldest son Rav Berel. The remainder of the family was in Brisk. He first escaped to Warsaw. The family was unable to join him there. Due to the Molotov-Von Ribbentrop pact Warsaw wound up under Nazi control while Brisk was in the Soviet zone. A few weeks later he escaped to Vilna. She was able to send some of their children to him, and he ended up with seven of the children, five boys and two girls. The Rov managed to obtain visas for him and his family to Palestine. He requested that she join him in Vilna with the remaining three children, but due to the chaotic conditions was unable to make it. He prepared her visas and paperwork, and told her she needs to come to Vilna in person to appear at the offices. In the meantime his visas and ship tickets were expiring. After leaving instructions for her to obtain the documents in Vilna and follow him to Palestine, he exited via Turkey to Israel, with seven of his children. She managed to make it to Vilna shortly after he left but was unable to finalize the documentation at the appropriate offices. Returning to Brisk with plans to make a further attempt shortly afterwards, her plans were thwarted with the launch of Operation Barbarossa on June 22, 1941- the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. She was killed with the remaining three children.To purchase the book:
#34.With Rabbi Yosie Levine (Rabbi of The Jewish Center) discussing the topic of his recently completed dissertation, the Chacham Tzvi.We discuss his life, works, controversies and more
#33.With Dan Rabinowitz (of the Seforim Blog) discussing his book "The Lost Library: The Legacy of Vilna's Strashun Library in the Aftermath of the Holocaust".We discuss Vilna, the Haskalah in Vilna, the Rashash (Rav Shmuel Strashun), Rav Matisyahu Strashun & his library, the library during World War 2, YIVO, the library today, and more.Link to purchase the book:
#32.With Prof. Howard (Tzvi) Adelman discussing Rav Yehuda Aryeh Modena. His life, works, and more. We also touch on Italian Jewry in general
#31.With Yehuda Geberer, tour guide, writer, and host of the Jewish History Soundbites Podcast.We discuss how he got into history, various stories and recollections, how he prepares for a show, what sources do we both use, how we do we know which sources are good and much more
#30.Discussing the Sefer Shailos U'Teshuvos Torah Lishmah by the Ben Ish Chai, Rav Yosef Chaim ZT"L of Baghdad. The Ben Ish Chai attributed it to an unknown Chacham "Yechezkel Kuchli", however it is now known that he himself was the author.Various proofs are brought in the extensive introduction to the 2013 Ahavat Shalom edition (as expounded in the podcast).
Show #29.Solo show discussing various new Seforim and my quick thoughts on them.If you have any feedback on this style of episode and whether you would like to hear more episodes like this please email me
Show #28. With R' Zecharia Holzer of Machon Al Harishonim discussing the Machon, how they got into working on Rishonim, the Machzorim on Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur, how they came about, various Rishonim included, and more
Live show. #27.With Prof. Eve Krakowski (Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies and the Program in Judaic Studies at Princeton University) discussing the Cairo Geniza. Its History, how it was discovered, its uses today, the Friedberg project, the differences between the literary fragments and documents, her book, and much more.To purchase her book "Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt: Female Adolescence, Jewish Law, and Ordinary Culture":
Live show. #26.(Some audio issues at around the 40:00 mark, fast forward).With Prof. Ephraim Kanarfogel (E. Billi Ivry University Professor of Jewish History, Literature, and Law at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, Yeshiva University) discussing the Baalei Tosafos, who were the "main" ones, methodology, style, differnces between France (צרפת) and Germany (אשכנז), the Tosafos Rid, use (or lack of) the Rambam by the Baalei Tosafos, his forthcoming book "Brothers From Afar: Rabbinic Approaches to Apostasy and Reversion in Medieval Europe" (Wayne State University Press) and more.To purchase Prof. Kanarfogel's books: 1)
Show #25.With Prof. Magda Teter (Shvidler Chair in Judaic Studies and Professor of History at Fordham University) discussing her new book "Blood Libel: On The Trail Of An Antisemitic Myth" (Harvard University Press) about the history of the Blood Libel, William of Norwich & Thomas Of Monmouth, Simon of Trent and the trial of the Jews of Trent, the controversy around Prof. Ariel Toaff and his book, and more.To purchase the book: the accompanying website to the book: the English translation of Thomas of Monmouth:
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