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108 SHOFAR when he (or she) first encounters him. This would add a new and valuable dimension to their studies since putting people in an historical and intellectual context greatly aids in appreciating their work. For this reason I would highly recommend its purchase for school and congregational libraries, as well as for budding scholars. Edward Simon Purdue University A Letter for the Ages: Iggeres Haramban, edited by Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer. ArtScroll Series. Brooklyn, NY: Mesorah Publications, 1989. 122 pp. $11.95 (c); $8.95 (p). . A publishing enterprise as broad as that of the ArtScroll series has to be somewhat uneven. This is one of the lower points. It is not that this work is in any sense bad, only that considering how many other books there are covering similar material, it is somewhat superfluous. The letter itself (in translation) does not exceed 1,000 words. It was written by the Ramban from Israel to his son Nachman in Spain in the year 1267. At the time, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman was 72, and he died a few years later. The letter is one of mussar, ethical instruction, and begins, "Heed, my son, the discipline ofyour father, and do riot forsake the guidance of your mother. Accustom yourself to speak gently to all people at all times." Words no less valid now than they were 700 years ago. There are three or four pages of anthologized commentary by classic and contemporary expositors on each of the 32 sentences in the letter. On the opening passage Rabbi Feuer notes that midos (character traits) are inherited from one's parents no less than their genes. He then quotes a story from the famous"Alter ofSlabodka": A child from a good family was caught stealing apples. But it did not just happen. The grandfather, who was very pious , nevertheless pretended to be even more pious than he really was. His father, who was a scholar, plagiarized some of his work from others. The grandson, in turn, became an apple thief. Who could not gain from reading such a book? Still, others are better. Edward Simon Purdue University ...


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