This special installment of the “A Look Inside the Book” column will review standout titles from this past year in the areas of history, halacha, renewed classics, and fiction.
A Look Inside the Book is an Anash.org feature that takes a look at what’s new on the shelves of Seforim stores, and reviews recently printed seforim and books. The feature is sponsored by SeforimDeals.com
By Shmuel Super
Piskei Teshuvos – Vol. 6 (new edition)
Rabbi Simchah Bentzion Rabinowitz
The acclaimed set of Piskei Teshuvos requires no introduction to students of halachah. Rabbi Simchah Bentzion Rabinowitz’s six-volume classic on the Orach Chayim section of Shulchan Aruch addresses the practical halachic questions related to these halachos, with an emphasis on the modern questions that result from technological development. Piskei Teshuvos is a staple work of modern halachah, used by great poskim and regular balebatim alike.
A proper review of the set is beyond the scope of this article. Instead, we will limit ourselves to explaining the value of the new edition of Volume 6.
The new Volume 6 is not like a regular new edition of a sefer, with corrections of typos and a little added material. Instead, the completely revised edition is essentially a new sefer. From the 659 pages of the 5757 edition, the sefer has now been almost doubled in size, to 1047 pages.
Following the order of the Mishnah Berurah, the sixth volume of Piskei Teshuvos covers Orach Chayim, simanim 530-697, including the halachos of Chol Hamoed; fast days; all of the Tishrei yamim tovim; Chanukah; and Purim.
Taking siman 677 about the Chanukah lighting obligations of guests and travelers as an example, a comparison with the old edition shows that additional information is added to better define different types of guests and their varying obligations, and more variant opinions are cited.
The new edition also addresses new developments since the publication of the first edition. For example, the old edition states that passengers on an airplane should light the menorah, even if they will not be allowed to keep it alight for half an hour due to security concerns.
But the new edition notes that nowadays it is impossible to light a fire at all on a plane. As a result, the author advises that in such extenuating circumstances passengers may use an incandescent bulb instead of a flame, and even make a berachah on this lighting. If this can’t be done, a passenger may rely on their family lighting at home being motzie them.
As is the case with all likutim, Piskei Teshuvos shouldn’t become a substitute for asking one’s personal rabbi when in doubt. But many simple questions that arise can be resolved by looking up the topic in this sefer, and for more complex matters one will learn how to correctly pose the question to a rov.
In light of the significant expansion and improvement of the new edition, even those that already own the first edition should positively consider upgrading to the new edition.
The new edition of Piskei Teshuvos Vol. 6 can be purchased here.
The full set of Piskei Teshuvos can be purchased here.
Previously reviewed halachah seforim: Headlines 3 and Exploring Modern Halachic Dilemmas; Shu”t Mahari Tumarkin; Ketzos Hashulchan; Semichah-related seforim; and Chikrei Halachah Uminhag.
For previous articles in the series, click here.