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

About the Book

Or buy the volumes separately: Vol.1: Genesis and Exodus, Vol. 2:Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy

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.


“When the history of rabbinic literature of this era is written, Rabbi Held’s contributions will be acknowledged as the brightest stars in this new galaxy of Torah teaching.” –Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, from his foreword


Rabbi Shai Held

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 (Indiana, 2013).

Rabbi Irving Greenberg

Rabbi Irving Greenberg is a preeminent Jewish thinker, theologian, activist, president of the J.J. Greenberg Institute for the Advancement of Jewish Life, and senior scholar in residence at Hadar. He is the author of five books, including For the Sake of Heaven and Earth: The New Encounter between Judaism and Christianity (JPS, 2004).

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