The JPS Rashi Discussion Torah Commentary

The JPS Rashi Discussion Torah Commentary

The JPS Rashi Discussion Torah Commentary

The JPS Rashi Discussion Torah Commentary


Rashi, the medieval French rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105), authored monumental commentaries on the Hebrew Bible and the Babylonian Talmud. With The JPS Rashi Discussion Torah Commentary , his commentary on the Torah--regarded as the most authoritative of all Torah commentaries--is finally accessible to the entire Jewish community.

Steven and Sarah Levy quote from the biblical text in both Hebrew and English, highlight Rashi's comments relating to the parashah, and delve into his perceptive moral messages in the context of twenty-first-century dilemmas. Each portion features three essays with analysis and discussion questions that draw on universal human experiences, enabling families and Shabbat study groups to deepen their understanding of Rashi and the portion over the three Sabbath meals.

Readers with little or no knowledge of Hebrew, the Torah, or Jewish practice will feel comfortable diving into this discussion commentary. All Hebrew terms are defined, quoted verses contextualized, and less familiar Jewish concepts explained.


Steven: in a 2013 (5774) Rosh Hashanah sermon, my rabbi asked his congregants to set a meaningful goal for the new year and share it with another person. As I contemplated the rabbi’s words, I thought about committing to learn the weekly Torah portion with Rashi’s commentary—something I had begun tentatively in the past, but never come close to completing. At lunch following services, I shared with our guests the rabbi’s proposition and declared my intention to learn Rashi’s commentary over the coming year.

As I began reading Rashi’s commentary, certain insights resonated with me, and I thought it would be a shame to continue without at least noting these points so I could review them later. Some of the ideas I recorded seemed as if they would be of interest to others, particularly if they were supplemented with questions geared toward generating discussions around the Shabbat table. Given that my wife, Sarah, is a psychologist with keen insight into human nature, I asked her if she would like to join me in preparing these weekly essays. She agreed (once again) to be my partner, and thus began the project that resulted in this book.

Sarah: Although I was present at the Rosh Hashanah lunch when Steven announced that he would like to learn the weekly Torah portion with Rashi’s commentary, I was surprised when he later asked, “How would you like to write a book with me?” That was the beginning of many weekly meetings reviewing ideas from the week’s Torah portion and—before the Shabbat deadline—formulating questions that would engage the reader. We shared these essays, which we called “Thought for Food,” with family and friends so they could use them at their Shabbat tables. Steven also handed them out on Friday night as people exited the synagogue. We were gratified to receive feedback that these essays were engaging readers in meaningful conversations.

Working on this project together proved to be a bonding experience for us as a couple. As we drew on our respective backgrounds, interests, and life experiences, we learned more about each other. I have always been intrigued by the intersection of Torah with science and psychology, and was delighted to be able to explore this further, in collaboration, through the prism of Rashi’s comments. I would like to thank my beloved husband for inviting me to join him in this project. I am always inspired by his insatiable thirst for learning new things.

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