Apothaker makes an extremely important contribution to the study of early Rabbinic, particularly legal, Midrash. The Sifra is perhaps the earliest extant rabbinic Midrashic collection, and its Levitical subjects are critical to understanding the Rabbinic response to the loss of Israel's cultic center. Yet we have no critical edition of the whole, and no systematic treatment in light of recent advances in Midrashic studies. In a field of study that is rife with generalizations, the author performs the admirable and painstaking service of translating, analyzing, and cataloging one substantial unit of the Sifra's text, before drawing important conclusions with broad implications.
Rabbi Howard L. Apothaker serves a congregation in New Albany (Columbus), Ohio. This book is a revision of his doctoral dissertation submitted to Hebrew Union College, where he received his Ph.D. in 1995.