. VocalReferences jpg 250x250_1 . . Buy School Clothing Square New

Jan 6, 2013

Book Review: The Rarest Blue by Baruch Sterman

NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.

Book Review: The Rarest Blue, by Baruch Sterman with Judy Taubes Sterman

When I first picked up this book, I did so almost in trepidation. I wear techelet, or tekhelet as they spell it, strings in my tzitzis, and when I first had decided to wear them I read through all the articles available, including the relevant halachos. At the time I felt comfortable saying that I was familiar enough with the relevant material and was making an informed decision. Many years later, years of wearing tekhelt, I admit I have not kept up with the latest writings, findings, and arguments on the issue of the discovery of the murex as the source of tekhelet, of the dyeing process, and on the debate of reviving a lost tradition. Today I am far less familiar with the arguments in favor of, or against, the modern-day tekhelet.

So, when I first picked up the book, I did so with trepidation. Not because I thought that the book might suddenly convince me I was wrong all these years - after all, even if I was wrong, the worst thing I did was wear tzitzis with some blue in it and nothing bad happened. My trepidation was out of fear that I would have no idea what the book was talking about. I was afraid the book would be full of scientific equations and proofs, I would not understand a word, and I would have a very difficult time reading it.

Boy, was I wrong!

From page 1, the book was almost un-put-down-able. Yes, I made up that word, but it is very appropriate.

The Rarest Blue is a page-turner. The book opens by drawing the reader in along an adventure to find the murex snail. You follow the author and his fellow adventurers through his travails along the coastal towns and villages along the Mediterranean, exploring ancient dyeing processes and finding ways to replicate them, and improve on them, in today's day and age, exploring ancient texts and historical references to the colors blue and purple, discovering how such colors were used and perceived in clothing and society in ancient history. The author goes through the history of previous discoveries of tekhelet, and the great halachic debates that surrounded those discoveries. You will even analyze what the color blue is, how it is seen by the eye, and how rare it is in nature (I found this discussion in particular to be truly fascinating).

All that might sound boring, but the author, in his writing style, found a way to make it all captivating and make you feel as if you are part of the adventure, as if you are there alongside him making the discoveries.

I would never have thought ancient dyeing processes could be so fascinating, and I am sure in real life they are far more dull and tedious than the description of their discovery in the book.

This book is not part of the argument, or debate, of whether the murex is the actual source of the tekhelet. This book, The Rarest Blue, seems to be taking place after that fact is already accepted. The murex, according to the author (and I, along with thousands of others, have at least accepted that argument), is the source of tekhelet. Once that is accepted, this book takes its relevancy - in finding the supply of murex, discovering how to extract the dye, how to process it, and what the meaning behind it all is.

Whether you wear tekhelet or not, whether you accept the argument that the murex is the correct source or not, this book is one you should definitely read. It tells the fascinating tale of the [attempted, for those of you who do not accept the argument] rediscovery of an ancient tradition.

Buy The Rarest Blue. You won't be sorry.

NOTE: I was not paid to review this book. It is an unbiased and objective review. If you have a book with Jewish or Israel related content and would like me to write a review, contact me for details of where to send me a review copy of the book.

------------------------------------------------------
Reach thousands of readers with your ad by advertising on Life in Israel
------------------------------------------------------

2 comments:

  1. http://thepartialview.blogspot.com/2013/01/new-frum-shidduch-site-yourshadchanorg.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. un-put-down-able, great find, I didn't think the book would be for me, but you may have changed my mind (if I find it here in our local judaica shops)

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...