Rabbi Yissachar Frand will speak in Denver this Sunday night, July 27, 8:15 p.m., at EDOS, 198 S. Holly.
Rabbi Frand, a Talmud instructor at Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, is perhaps the most sought after speaker in the Orthodox Jewish community around the world.
He electrified hundreds of thousands at the last international Talmud completion ceremony, and his tapes, books and CDs have been sold in the hundreds of thousands.
Frand will speak on the occasion of a siyyum, the completion of a Hebrew volume by a Denver author, Rabbi Hillel Goldberg, executive editor of the Intermountain Jewish News.
The volume is an elucidation of the elliptical commentary of the Vilna Gaon (1720-1797) on the laws of mikveh.
The Vilna Gaon had an encyclopedic knowledge of Jewish law, Jewish mysticism and all cognate literatures and disciplines. The scope of his knowledge was legendary, and his stature has only grown with the passage of time.
Goldbergs volume, titled Hallel Hakohen, elucidates 127 comments of the Vilna Gaon; supplies bibliography on each comment (where there is any); provides introductory remarks or sources as the necessary background to the Gaons thinking; adds cross references within the work of the Gaon; and often adds independent essays at the end of a comment of the Gaon that are related to his topic.
The new volume also provides a brief history of the transmission of the text of the comments of the Vilna Gaon on the Code of Jewish Law.
In the last 10 years, some 30 major works have been published in the area of the laws of mikveh.
Clearly, the topic has attracted enormous interest, says Goldberg.
Both junior and senior scholars have devoted immense effort to understand these laws from various points of view: theoretical, practical, and historical.
The mikveh seems to me to be the perfect locus of ecology in Judaism. If I take water and earth and configure it a certain way, it is nothing but water and earth. But if, under the guidelines of the Torah, I configure the exact same water and earth another way, it purifies a person. G-d works through water and earth.
The mikveh as an institution in Jewish life is becoming much more important to people than at any time since the breakdown of traditional Jewish society in Europe some 200 years ago.
The mikveh is reviving and, with it, I hope, so is the Jewish peoples thirst for purity.
Rabbi Frands lecture is free and open to the public, for men and women.