Many people ask me what I’m working on. So instead of having to explain it each time, I thought I’d write a post to which I can refer them!
The Biblical Museum of Natural History, which after a very challenging Covid period is now extraordinarily successful, is also responsible for using up much of my time and mental energy and hair. Although I’m not generally involved in day-to-day operations or guiding, I am intensively involved in planning, strategizing, networking, fundraising, and developing new exhibits and educational material. (And I’m traveling on a lecture/fundraising tour to Florida, Cincinnati and New York/New Jersey next month.)
While the museum is incredible and important, the downside of my museum work is that I just don’t have the time or mental focus to write books like I used to. The most important book that I would like to write, but don’t currently have the time for, is a comprehensive study on Torah and work (and perhaps another about yeshiva vs. army). It’s unbelievable that no such work exists, even though there is such a crying need for it. (Yehudah Levi’s Torah Study was groundbreaking for its era and context but is sorely deficient in its organizational structure and analysis.) Still, I am slowly accumulating research and notes on it, and perhaps one day I’ll get around to putting them together.
Volume II of The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom, covering birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, invertebrates and fish, is about 60% complete. But it’s been that way for about fifteen years without progressing much. Alas, I just don’t see myself having the time to complete it anytime soon. But the Hebrew translation of volume I is ready for publication, and based on the interest shown by museum visitors, the interest and demand for this work will be enormous here in Israel. If you are interested in helping bring this groundbreaking work to light, please be in touch and I will gladly share dedication opportunities with you.
There are various smaller works that I am compiling based on material that I’ve already written - Exotic Kosher Cuisine, about the kashrut of exotic foods, and a collection of nature-related parsha insights which still needs a title (I like The Panda in the Parsha, but unfortunately the panda is not in the parsha). The Art of the Ark will be a coffee table book featuring photos of our extraordinary and unique collection of artistic model Noah’s arks from around the world. And perhaps one day I’ll reprint some of my old books that are out of print - Man & Beast, Perek Shirah: Nature’s Song, and possibly even Seasons of Life, with some adjustments to make it less mystical!
On the “Projects Delayed Until Retirement” list is a comprehensive study of the history of approaching conflicts between Chazal and science (and not just the zoological topics discussed in Sacred Monsters); I have many notes for such a book but I just don’t see myself having the time/focus to research it properly and write it. I am toying with writing a book about the controversial ban on my own books, and debating whether it would be for general release or only for select friends and supporters.
So, that’s where I’m at. As for writing this blog, it is quite time-consuming, but I see it as fulfilling an important social need, as well as enabling me to maintain a connection with many people (there are now over 3000 email subscribers). But in order to show appropriate appreciation to those who help support it, and also to incentivize others to do so and help justify my time spent on it, some of the future posts will only be available to supporters. You can donate by clicking on the button below; donations are tax-deductible and go to the Torah and Nature Foundation, which supports the museum and my publications. Thank you!
How about publishing a book about maintaining grudges and not moving on with life?
Are you kidding, no comprehensive study on Torah and Work? Yechezkel Fogel long ago wrote (המלאכה העבודה והאומנות במשנת חז"ל (ולאורה של ראשונים ואחרונים over 400 packed pages. (Fogel was one of the pioneers of Charedi education, and was/is the director of the Charedi college in Kiryat Ono.)
I would stick to the animals. You have no special expertise on subject of Torah and work, and be real, your well known bias on the subject automatically renders null anything you would have to say. It would be ignored by all but a few in the choir. By contrast, you did an outstanding job on the encyclopedia, this is clearly where your true passion lies, and you obviously have more knowledge and experience in this area than most others. Get Volume II completed and distributed first, then the Hebrew version, then the smaller related items you seem interested in, and then go from there.