“Short apodictic summaries of halakhah are necessarily monolithic”

Short apodictic summaries of halakhah are necessarily monolithic. By contrast, discussions citing and accurately evaluating earlier sources (or better yet, giving the reader the tools to evaluate them by summarizing historical development) offer directions for further study, and indicate that knowledge-based praxis, rather than orthopraxis, is the desideratum. There is certain key information, in addition to the “bottom line” of the halakhic ruling, that is crucial to the halakhic process. If this information is withheld or presented inaccurately, whether deliberately or through oversight, then the author clearly has not made a priority of familiarizing the reader with the complexities that lie behind the halakhic ruling advocated, or of giving him or her the tools necessary to evaluate these rulings and alternatives. This is a salient deficiency in an educational work that purports to treat its readership with respect.

Moshe Benovitz, “A Lifetime Companion to the Laws of Jewish Family Life and Man and Woman: Guidance for Newlyweds (review),” Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies & Gender Issues vol. 12, no. 1 (2006), 314.