Volume 17 of The Jewish Law Annual adds to the growing list of articles on Jewish law that have been published in volumes 1-16 of this series, providing English-speaking readers with scholarly articles presenting jurisprudential, historical, textual and comparative analysis of issues in Jewish law. The volume contains seven articles diverse in their scope and focus. Two articles are devoted to the halakhic thought of Rabbi A. I Kook; two treat classic legal questions: breach of a promise to marry, and the legal capacity of minors; two examine aspects of the judicial process, one exploring talmudic analyses of the biblical requirement that courts be established in every town, and the other, post-talmudic views on judicial authority in cases suspected of fraudulent claims. Another article addresses the fascinating question of the epistemic-pedagogic worldviews of the rival Tannaitic legal academics, the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai. The volume concludes with a section on Israeli legislation that adduces or is informed by Jewish law, and two reviews of a much-discussed recent book on a topic of considerable contemporary interest: the agunah problem.
Berachyahu Lifshitz is Professor of Comparative law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Faculty of Law.
Part 1: 1. Neria Guttel, It is Indeed in Heaven: The Uniqueness of the Laws of the Temple in the Halakhic Doctrine of Rabbi A. I. Kook 2. David Henshke, The Number of Judges in Ancient Israel 3. Leib Moscovitz, "The Actions of a Minor are a Nullity"?Some Observations on the Legal Capacity of Minors in Rabbinic Lawm 4. Avinoam Rosenak, Prophecy and Halakha: Dialectic in the Meta-Halakhic Thought of Rabbi A.I. Kook 5. Haim Shapira, The Schools of Hillel and Shammai 6. Yuval Sinai, Judicial Authority in Fraudulent-Claim Cases (din merume) 7. Ronnie Warburg, Breach of a Promise to Marry Part 2: 8. Daniel B. Sinclair, Jewish Law in the State of Israel 8.1 The Constitutional Validity of the Sabbath Observance Law 8.2 Terminally Ill Patient Law, 5766-2005 Part 3: Book reviews of Aviad Hacohen, The Tears of The Oppressed, An Examination of the Agunah Problem: Background and Halachic Sources, Bernard Jackson, Avishalom Westreich