Two new volumes by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed were officially launched this past Tuesday at Yeshivat Har Bracha in Shomron (Samaria). The launching ceremony was held in the presence of many prominent rabbis, including Rabbi Zalman Melamed, head of the Beit El yeshiva, Rabbi Haim Druckman, head of the Bnei Akiva yeshiva and Or Etzion Yeshiva, Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg, head of Yeshivat Kerem BeYavne, and Rabbi Re’em HaCohen, Rosh Yeshiva of Otniel.
The ceremony marked the publishing of two new volumes on the subject of Shabbat in the series Peninei Halachah (Pearls of Halakha) by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, head of Yeshivat Har Bracha. The Peninei Halachah series has become one of the leading series within the religious Jewish community. To this day, with the new volumes, about 200,000 copies of it have been published.
Peninei Halachah actually began as a radio segment on Arutz Sheva. At the suggestion of his mother, who thought of the name for the program, Rabbanit Shulamit Melamed, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed would teach one practical halakhic ruling for several minutes each morning. About 18 years ago the rabbi began to write the laws and publishing them in books. The books deal with key halakhic questions in reference to contemporary customs and are targeted at members of all Jewish communities.
The author's father, Rabbi Zalman Melamed, Rosh Yeshiva of Beit El, who opened the launching event, spoke about the halakha regarding desecrating Shabbat for the purpose of saving lives. The rabbi explained the differences in the various halakhic approaches and gave examples of each. He also referred to the decision-making ability of his son, saying: "The ability to reach a decision on all religious matters, and in particular on topics related to Shabbat, is an important virtue with which Rabbi Eliezer Melamed has been blessed.”
Rabbi Druckman said that “Peninei Halachah has become a huge enterprise and that is a great blessing to the people of Israel, most importantly to its youth.” He related a story of his visit to the B’nei Akiva yeshiva in Netanya, where a young boy came up to teach a halakha after morning prayers. Rabbi Drucknan said that when he asked the young boy where he learned these things, he replied that he learned them from Peninei Halacha.
“This highlights the importance of these books,” said Rabbi Druckman. “They teach halakha on the one hand very thoroughly, and on the other hand, it is done in a clear, readable way. This brings people closer to halakha and it is very important to bring youth closer to halakha. Rabbi Melamed should be blessed.”
Rabbi Re’em HaCohen who was also present at the event said: “Halakha requires deep theoretical study even if at first glance, some of the researcht seems to have nothing to do with halakha. Therefore, even if Rabbi Eliezer’s books seem so simple to comprehend, you cannot imagine how much labor is invested by him in each issue in order to achieve clarity of a simple law.”
Rabbi HaCohen added: “The world of halakha is very complicated but the bottom line should be very simple. I think that these ‘pearls’ are very clear and are the result of a deep study.”
The event was also attended by MK Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz, who said that Rabbi Zalman Melamed and his son Rabbi Eliezer Melamed put together two communities, Beit El and Har Bracha and added: “With G-d’s help they will also build the Jewish cities of Ramallah and Shechem.”
Shomron Mayor Gershon Mesika said at the event that Har Bracha is used as a model and example to all communities. He stressed the fact that at each opportunity people speak about Har Bracha as a role model to all communities in Judea and Samaria..