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The Jew and His Home

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The Jew and His Home

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The Jew and His Home
A Guide to Jewish Family Life

By Eliyahu Kitov
Feldheim Publishers, Jerusalem & New York: 2000
2 Volume boxed set, ISBN: 1-5833-0396-0

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - February 25, 2004

The Jew and His Home is a fountain of information detailing with everything you need to know about the Jewish life-cycle and home life. This is a perfect guide book for those seeking an introduction to Torah Observant family life, as well as a reference guide for students, newlyweds, and anyone seeking to learn more about one of the most important tenants of Judaism - i.e., Jewish Family life.

Written by Rabbi Abraham Eliyahu Kitov, this book was originally published in Hebrew under the title of Ish u'Beiso. This two-volume English version of The Jew and His Home is faithful to the original sefer, and the English translation is graceful and engaging.

Encyclopedic in scope, the text is divided into twenty-seven thematic chapters.
  1. The Preciousness of Marriage
  2. The Consecration of Marriage
  3. Where Joy Dwells
  4. "And I Shall Dwell in Their Midst" (the home as a sanctuary)
  5. Domestic Harmony
  6. When Peace is Not Achieved
  7. Peace of Mind
  8. A Woman of Valor
  9. Modesty and Manners
  10. Respect and Esteem (between a husband and wife)
  11. Fidelity and Devotion
  12. On Sufficing with Little
  13. Open Your Door (hospitality and charity)
  14. Kindness Begins with Family and Friends
  15. Kindness to Animals
  16. Sanctifying the Act of Eating
  17. Private Property and Public Good
  18. The Mezuzah
  19. Separating Tithes and Taking Challah
  20. The Dietary Laws
  21. Family Purity
  22. Happiness and Security
  23. Circumcision
  24. Pidyon ha-Ben (redemption of the first born)
  25. Raising Children
  26. Bar Mitzvah
  27. "And You Shall Teach Them to Your Children"
As you can see from this list of chapter headings, The Jew and His Home is truly a complete guide to Jewish Family Life. In addition, the text is fully indexed and includes a glossary. This text is an essential "must have" for any Ba'al Teshuvah looking for a comprehensive and authoritative book on Jewish family life, as well as for anyone seeking a general reference book on the topic.

In addition to The Jew and His Home, I'd also like to recommend to our readers, Rabbi Kitov's companion book, The Book of Our Heritage: The Jewish Year and Its Days of Significance. This book is equally encyclopedic in scope, detailing the various Holidays, Festivals, and Fast Days. The text includes commentary on the various laws and observances associated with these events. Combined, these two book present a thorough overview of the fundamentals of Jewish religious law (halacha) and practice.

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