by Chaim Seymour
Enkin, Ari N. Amot shel Halacha: Halachic Insights. Jerusalem; New York: Urim Publications (The Dalet Amot Halacha Series), 2009. 249 p. $23.95 (ISBN 978-9-65524-028-3).
The genre of halachic responsa is more than a thousand years old. Since early consultations between rabbis were not limited by political boundaries, responsa were usually written in the common language, Hebrew. The late twentieth century witnessed new sorts of responsa. In Israel, responsa are to be found on Web sites, and they are far shorter than the traditional answers to questions, omitting detailed discussion and citing fewer sources. Rabbi Enkin, like other American rabbis who have abandoned the conventional format, retains the sources, but writes in English. His discussions are fairly traditional, replete with footnotes and extremely relevant to the Orthodox Jew’s daily life. Rabbi Enkin’s conclusions are usually normative with the exception of shaving on Hol ha-Moed, where he embraces the most lenient view. I was impressed by the book’s intuitive organization and I will certainly refer to it in the future.