Reviewed by Michael Dunford, The Midwest Book Review
Critique: As informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, “Torah Mysteries Illuminated: Intriguing Insights into the Essence of Major Torah Topics of Contemporary Relevance” is impressively well written, exceptionally well organized, and deftly presented. Of special note is Thomas Furst’s chapter on “The Torah’s Highly Sensitive Standard of Charity”. Simply stated, “Torah Mysteries Illuminated” is very highly recommended for scholars and non-specialist readers alike, and should be a part of every personal, community synagogue, community library, and academic library Judaic Studies reference collection and supplemental studies reading list.
This review originally appeared on The Midwest Book Review
By Alan Jay Gerber
This week’s column will focus on a special author and his unique book on Jewish practice and law. The author, Thomas Furst, a lawyer, has the yichus of being a descendent of the great Gaon, the Chasam Sofer.
His religious credentials include having learned at Yeshivat Keren B’Yavneh, and he is currently an active member of the Great Neck Synagogue.
This work, entitled, “Torah Mysteries Illuminated” (Urim Publications, 2015) and accurately subtitled, “Intriguing Insights Into The Essence of Major Torah Topics of Contemporary Relevance” covers the following: Rosh Chodesh — Unraveling the Mysteries of a Most Significant Day; The Meaning of The Land of Milk and Honey; Shevet Levi’s Exemplary Character; Remembering Amalek; Behind the Obligation to Recite One Hundred Blessings; and A Life Saving Mitzvah — Hachnasat Orchim.
In a series of phone and email interviews with Furst, I was able to get the full measure of his scholarship and deep devotion to his faith. Below are some sample teachings for your edification. Continue reading “Mysteries of the Torah Illuminated”
By Rabbi Johnny Solomon
Torah Mysteries Illuminated, by Thomas Furst, is a fascinating collection of original and thought-provoking Torah insights. Each of the eighteen essays in this beautifully published book explores a specific topic concerning Tanach, Holidays, Prayer and the Jewish Home, and each sheds new light on stories, concepts and phrases that the reader may, until this point, have never even considered. For example, in his essay titled ‘”Yom Tov”: What’s in a Name?’, Mr. Furst provides considerable evidence to demonstrate how the word tov refers to moments of divine revelation, and consequently, how the term Yom Tov refers to a ‘day on which Hashem revealed Himself to His people’. Then, in his essay titled ‘Shevet Levi’s exemplary character’, Mr. Furst offers a wide ranging analysis of how the word Achim is used with reference to Shevet Levi, as well as how Moshe & Aharon differed in their personality types, leading the reader to a clear understanding of why Moshe needed to be accompanied by his brother when confronting Pharoh, and why there is a need for both Kohanim and Leviim. Finally, as mentioned above, Mr. Furst’s examination of Adam’s first sin is nothing less than ingenious. I thoroughly enjoyed learning Torah Mysteries Illuminated and will certainly be consulting it on a regular basis. Continue reading “Review and Dvar Torah of Torah Mysteries Illuminated“
By Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins
This book is a collection of fascinating discussions related to Jewish thought. From holidays to daily commandments, Thomas Furst articulates an original approach in understanding fundamental questions and lessons in Judaism, including the implications of Shabbat and the importance of learning Torah in Israel. The essays provide clear answers for broad questions that focus on laws and traditions which stem from the Hebrew Bible. Continue reading “Review of Torah Mysteries Illuminated“