New from OU Press – “Yerach Tov: Birkat HaChodesh in Jewish Law and Liturgy” by Rabbi Elchanan Adler

February 21, 2014

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OU Press, the publishing division of the Orthodox Union, announces the publication of Yerach Tov: Birkat HaChodesh in Jewish Law and Liturgy, by Rabbi Elchanan Adler, Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.

Of the many prayers in the siddur, few arouse as much nostalgic appeal as Birkat HaChodesh, the prayer in which the chazzan and the congregation joyfully proclaim the arrival of the upcoming Hebrew month. In his new book, Rabbi Adler examines the Birkat HaChodesh prayer, discussing the history, customs and laws surrounding this familiar but enigmatic service.

Drawing from a wide range of sources, from the earliest siddurim to a diverse collection of halachic works, liturgical and Talmudic commentaries, Rabbi Adler lucidly explores the complex topic of Kiddush HaChodesh, the sanctification of the new month as performed in the Temple era, and how it relates to the Birkat HaChodesh prayer. The book also offers a detailed, line by line explanation of the prayers that make up Birkat HaChodesh, discusses their sources, and their integration to form the service we recite today. In addition, Rabbi Adler explores the concept of the molad and its significance, and unravels this technical but important subject.

Readers of this book will be rewarded with such fascinating information as: the reason Rabbi Chaim Volozhiner told rabbis to always know the time of the molad; the reason the chazzan holds the Torah during Birkat HaChodesh; the significance of the phrase “chaverim kol Yisrael,” and much more. Also included in the book is a comprehensive annotated bibliography of all sources and authors cited, which provides an excellent literary and historical background for the Birkat HaChodesh prayer.

Despite the breadth of sources and depth of analysis, Rabbi Adler’s book remains clear and engaging, making it accessible to the layman and scholar. In short, this book is required reading for anyone seeking a better understanding of Jewish prayer and its development.

Rabbi Adler occupies the Eva, Morris and Jack Rubin Chair in Rabbinics at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. An accomplished speaker and writer, Rabbi Adler has lectured in communities across the country and is the author of Sefer Mitzvat HaShabbat, as well as numerous Torah articles in Hebrew and English on diverse topics of Jewish thought.

Yerach Tov joins OU Press’ many important works on Jewish prayer, including: Prayers for the Welfare of the State and for the Welfare of the State Of Israel by Rabbi Avraham Steinberg, which looks at the history, law and customs surrounding the tefilla lishlom hamedinah; and The Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur, the first complete siddur with commentary by the seminal scholar and leader, the Rav, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.  

 

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