Re: Sources!!!

Daniel Eidensohn (
Thu, 17 Jul 1997 13:15:00 -0700

Elisheva Schwartz wrote:
<<Friends-- I'm sure this has been said before.... PLEASE, don't say
"everybody knows" or "Reb Moshe said..." etc., unless you are going to cite
a source to back it up. In my experience, "everybody knows" often proceeds
some misconception, and "Reb Moshe says" is often followed by a statement
that may have been taken out of context. Even if it _is_ an accurate
interpretation of the words of Reb Moshe (or another gadol) it really isn't
of much use unless an interested person can look it up, and check back on
the sources that THAT posek (halachic authority) cited.>>

I strongly agree with the above. I think perhaps the issue is lack of
knowledge of how to look things up quickly. The following are a partial
list of resources.

Hashkofa (theology) - R' Aryeh Kaplan 2 volume Handbook of Jewish Thought
is a good place to start. Feldheim's edition of Derech HaShem
(Hebrew-English) also has a good index. Rav Dessler's Michtav M'Eliyahu has
an index. For Rav Tzadok's writings - which are foundation to modern
thought - there are two excellent indicies (Hebrew).

Phrases in Gemora(Talmud) can usually be found in 1) Otzair HaAgadah (Mosad Rav
Kook) arranged by topic 2) Michlol Hamamarim arranged by fragments of the

R' Kaplan's 'Living Torah' also has an excellent index to Chumash
(Pentateuch). The Ramban (Mosad Rav Kook) has an excellent index to his
commentary on Chumash. Nachshoni on Chumash deals with major conceptual
discussion and is indexed and is available in English (Artscroll)

Otzair HaTalmud by Shechter provides concise descriptions of most major
ideas found in the Gemora. Sde Chemed is an indispensable source for many
fundamental ideas in the rabbinic literature. The Encyclopedia Talmudis is
a standard work. Elon's classic work Mishpat Ivri is a well organized and
indexed starting point.

Dictionaries such as Jastrow often indicate the source of ideas in gemora.

R' Aryeh Carmel's Study Guide to Gemora is very useful

Biographical material is found in the Shem HaGedolim of the Chida.
Margolis' encyclopedias to Sages and Chachomim. Ishei HaTanach which is
also available in English from Arscroll is critical.

Halacha: Rabbi Bleich's works on Contemporary Halacha as well the The
Journal of Contemporary Halacha Issues, Tradition magazine are valuable
source of well organized material Rabbi Herring's writings are also very
useful. Rav Zevin's classic works also available in English (Artsroll) are
very useful

Shmiras Shabbos (Hebrew & English) is well indexed and authoritative.
Shevili HaTalmud is excellent for primary sources in Halacha - gemora,
Rambam, Shulchan Aruch.

The Igros Moshe is accessible through my index Yad Moshe (all 8 volumes).
The Mishna Berura is indexed by my index Yad Yisroel (English) There is a
excellent new index on contemporary issues found in a number of modern
responsa - Mofteach HaGadol. The Minchas Yitzchok has a good index as does
Rav Sternbuch's in the new 3rd volume.

In addition there are a number of CD databases. Bar Ilan is the only one
dealing fully with responsa literature. Davka has a number of very useful
disks (Including the entire Igros Moshe). DBS has an excellent collection
as well as Otzair HaPoskim's collection of Rishonim. But CD's are often
more difficult to use because the material is not accessible by ideas only
by specific words.

Finally the traditional source - asking talmidei chachomim is strongly

Daniel Eidensohn