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The Heart of Torah: Essays on the Weekly Torah Portion, Vol 1 & 2



Collectively, Rabbi Shai Held’s Torah essays—2 essays for each weekly portion— in The Heart of Torah, Volume 1 (Genesis and Exodus) and Volume II (Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) open new horizons in the world of Jewish biblical commentary. A renowned rabbi, lecturer and educator, Held brings creative theological exploration, penetrating psychological observation, keen attentiveness to literary detail, deep learning in Jewish philosophy and theology, and compassionate attention to the stirrings of the human heart.

He mines Talmud and midrashim, great writers of world literature, and even astute commentators of other religious backgrounds. He lets small textual anomalies slowly open up into fundamental questions about God, human nature, and what it truly means to be a religious person in the modern world. Along the way, he illuminates the centrality of empathy in Jewish ethics, the predominance of divine love in Jewish theology, the primacy of gratitude and generosity, and God’s summoning of each of us—with all our limitations—into the dignity of covenantal relationship.

  • Provides commentary on weekly Torah readings
  • Explores the wide range of theological themes within Torah
  • Relates the text to our modern environment and relationship with God

    Volume 1: Genesis and Exodus

    • A Note on Translations
    • Introduction
    • Genesis
    • Exodus
    • Notes on Genesis
    • Notes on Exodus
    • A Note on Bible Commentaries

    Volume 2: Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy

    • A Note on Translations
    • Introduction
    • Leviticus
    • Numbers
    • Deuteronomy
    • Notes on Leviticus
    • Notes on Numbers
    • Notes on Deuteronomy
    • A Note on Bible Commentaries
The Heart of Torah is a stunning achievement: textually learned, theologically profound, ethically challenging, spiritually uplifting, and psychologically astute. If you want to know what it can mean to read the Torah today with your whole heart and your whole mind, read this book

—Rabbi Sharon Brous, founder and senior rabbi at Ikar, Los Angeles

Shai Held deftly brings the wisdom of Torah to bear upon the contemporary human condition. Christians who read this book can discover fresh dimensions within the biblical text, see more clearly where there is common ground between Jews and Christians, and better grasp what it means to understand and live in this world as God’s world.

—Walter Moberly, professor of theology and biblical interpretation at Durham University

Shai Held is one of the most important teachers of Torah in his generation.

—Rabbi David Wolpe, author of David: The Divided Heart

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Rabbi Shai Held (PhD, Harvard, 2010; Ordination, JTS, 1999) is co-founder, dean and chair of Jewish Thought at Mechon Hadar and directs its Center for Jewish Leadership and Ideas. A renowned lecturer and educator, he is a 2011 recipient of the Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education and has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the top 50 rabbis in America. He has taught at institutions such as Drisha, Me’ah, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and the Rabbinic Training Institute, and he currently serves on the faculty of the Wexner Heritage program. He is author of Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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