Thursday, January 23, 2020

Reviewing: “Roots & Rituals: Insights Into Hebrew, Holidays and History,” By Mitchell First. Kodesh Press. 2018. English. Paperback. 254 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1947857063.

I can’t speak for you but this book was 100 percent up my alley, focusing as it does on linguistics/etymology and history/archaeology, each of which is a subject of interest to me. If any of these – especially the language aspect – is of interest to you, then don’t even bother reading the rest of this review. Rather, just open a new browser tab and order yourself the book.

Still here? Fine. Let me tell you something about it, then.

Mitchell First is a personal-injury attorney and Jewish history scholar with a long-running column in the Jewish Link of New Jersey, which is where the articles collected in this book first appeared. Each topic he writes about is like a mini-mystery, with First playing the role of Sherlock Holmes. At first, each case is unsolvable but once First has assembled the clues and vetted the suspects, the solution has been staring us in the face all along. (Okay, when dealing with matters of history and linguistic origin, the answers are not always conclusive but First always provides compelling evidence. Certainly enough for an indictment if not necessarily a conviction.)

To read the rest of this review - go to: https://www.ou.org/life/inspiration/book-review-roots-rituals-by-mitchell-first/

By Jack Abramowitz
(Reprinted courtesy of OU Life)

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz is Torah content editor at the Orthodox Union. He is the author of six books, including “The Tzniyus Book” and “The Taryag Companion.” His latest work, “The God Book,” is available from OU Press as well as on Amazon.