In Jewish practice, the first five books of the Bible, referred to as the Torah, are divided into 54 weekly portions. The central element of the Sabbath service in the synagogue is the public chanting of the appropriate Torah portion for the week. Torah and Commentary: The Five Books of Moses by Sol Scharfstein is a new, highly readable translation of the Torah, Judaism’s most sacred text, and is accompanied by interpretations of over 2,000 biblical passages. The interpretations are by classical and contemporary rabbinic commentators, and the translation and commentaries are presented in easy-to-read language. The commentaries cover religious practices, history, theology, laws, customs, and ethical concepts. The volume is beautifully illustrated in color and provides background material about the Torah’s place in Judaism, and the various ritual practices related to the Torah and Sabbath services. Also included and illustrated in color are biographical sketches of the most highly regarded biblical commentators, such as Rashi, Maimonides, and others. Sol Scharfstein’s own comments relate to the contemporary message of the biblical passages. Torah and Commentary introduces individuals of all faiths to an encounter with the Jewish understanding of the Bible, the spiritual foundation shared in common by all the great monotheistic faiths.
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