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Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary [Hardcover]

By David L. Lieber (Editor), Jules Harlow (Editor), United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (Corporate Author) & Rabbinical Assembly (Corporate Author)
Our Price $ 61.63  
Retail Value $ 72.50  
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Item Number 135935  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   1559
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.75" Width: 7.5" Height: 10.5"
Weight:   3.6 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2001
Publisher   Jewish Publication Society of America
ISBN  0827607121  
EAN  9780827607125  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Special features make Etz Hayim meaningful for lay and clergy alike:
- Essays on key themes by prominent Conservative movement rabbis and scholars
- Separate p'shat and d'rash commentary themes, showing two approaches to interpreting the Torah:
The p'shat commentary, adapted from the JPS Torah Commentary and edited by Chaim Potok, seeks to explain the basic meaning of the text.
The d'rash commentary, edited by Harold Kushner, selects insights from over 2,000 years of Torah study, including passages from the Talmud and Midrash, the teachings of the Sages, comments by Rashi, homiletic and psychological insights by Hasidic teachers, and readings by contemporary rabbis and scholars, including women's voices.
- The haftarot commentary, edited by Michael Fishbane and drawn from his JPS Bible Commentary: Haftarot, explains the supplemental readings from the Prophets (Nevi'im), which accompany each weekly Sabbath reading.
- Highlights of traditional readings for Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities including the special section halakhah l'ma-aseh, which indicates where Jewish laws are based on biblical passages. Also, blessings for the Torah and haftarot, full-color maps, glossary, timeline of biblical events, and indexes.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Excellent New Edition Of The Torah  Jan 16, 2008
This is literally an ESSENTIAL reference for anyone seriously interested in Biblical studies. (I am speaking as a non-Jew who has worked as a professional musician for a number of Reform and Conservative congregations.) It is a side-by-side bilingual (Hebrew and English) edition with running commentary as footnotes on each page. It also includes a number of stand-alone feature articles on various topics. The traditional Haftorah selections are interspersed within the Torah, so the entire volume comprises much of the "Old Testament" text. Other than for the actual "Five Books of Moses," therefore, the order is not that of the standard Bible. This edition is a product of the Conservative (Masorti) Movement, and as such is neither orthodox nor ultra-liberal, but rather represents the points of view of modern Biblical scholarship, or "higher criticism." It is easy to read, as well as comprehensively thorough for the serious student; and has been adopted as the official Torah for congregational use in the Conservative Movement. Addendum: I wrote this review before having read any of the other reviews, and would like to add my voice to the suggestion that "Etz Hayim" be highly recommended for Christian readers. (I was raised as a Lutheran, but now describe myself as a non-believer or free-thinker).
excellent commentary and easy to use  Jul 9, 2007
Etz Hayim is my preferred chumash among those using the "new" JPS English translation. The layout is well-planned so that a lengthy gloss doesn't run past the page that contains the verse(s) being explained. The essays by respected biblical scholars are useful for my own education as well as for teaching b'nai mitzvot students. i also use the maps, glossary and index to teach my students how to navigate the chumash and their own Jewish history.

As a Conservative Jew, i find the links to halachah especially enlightening and useful for understanding the thinking behind the practice. i also make heavy use of the essays linking the week's parashah to the haftarah.

i have used W. Gunther Plaut's chumash in a classroom setting as well, but feel it lacks a sense of spirituality. Rabbi Plaut spends far too much time linking bible stories to contemporaneous myths and legends. Etz Hayim manages to keep its focus on Judaism - after all, this is the Torah, not the Epic of Gilgamesh. In fact, our synagogue, which is nominally Reform but serves everyone, was ready to adopt Plaut's chumash (to replace Hertz) until i demonstrated that the commentary in Etz Hayim works beautifully for our participatory Torah discussions on Shabbat mornings.

As well, it's a beautiful book and the layout is easy to follow for even the most casual user. It makes a good chumash for small group study, regardless of denomination. And Etz Hayim is what i give to Christian and Muslim friends who want to learn more about the Jewish bible.
Etz Hayim is Excellent!!!  Nov 10, 2006
Etz Hayim is an excellent Torah resource. There are several reasons for this. A) English/Hebrew: The English and Hebrew transaltions are side by side and line by line. This makes it easier to do your own translating of the Hebrew text and compare it with the English translation provided. B) Two types of commentaries: Each page has two different types of commentaries underneath the Torah text. One commentary takes the text verse by verse. The other commentary gives a lot of background information and good exigetical information concerning the text. C) Essays: The essays are very good. Whether you agree with the points they are making or not, they give the reader much food for thought. Over all I have found the commentaries and essays very helpful and readable. D) The Torah is divided up into the parashot for each week. There are also special portions listed for holidays and special occaisions. After each weekly Torah portion htere is the Haftorah portion. This makes reading the entire parasha easy as it is all in one place.
Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary   Sep 25, 2005
I am just getting into this book and find it interesting and thought provoking. To read a direct translation from Hebrew with the added commentaries has made for an enlightening journey. It takes a little time to get used to reading the book from back to front, however this adds to the quest.
An excellent educational resource  Feb 1, 2005
I have been using Etz Hayim for homeschooling Judaics. The comments on translation issues, historical background, and religious/ethical questions are thought provoking and have sparked some excellent discussion with my son. I highly recommend this as an educational resource.

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