The Boldness of a Halakhist: An Analysis of the Writings of Rabbi Yechiel Mechel Halevi Epstein's "The Arukh Hashulhan" (Judaism and Jewish Life)
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The Boldness of a Halakhist analyzes the writings of Rabbi Yechiel Mechel Halevi Epstein (1829–1908), author of the Arukh Hashulkhan, a bold and unusual approach to Jewish law. Based primarily on the original text of Rabbi Epstein's legal codes and homilies, this work covers topics such as women, modernity, customs, and secular studies. It analyzes the rabbi's approach to Jewish law and Jewish life, designed to promote the spiritual welfare of Jews under the pressures of growing secularization and Russification. Although based upon the principles of the traditional judicial process, the rabbi’s rulings demonstrate a profound understanding of the contemporary social and historical reality facing the Jews of Russia at the turn of the century.