About the Book
The JPS Jewish Heritage Torah Commentary shows Jews of all ages and backgrounds that the Jewish people’s most significant book is not dusty and irrelevant but an eternally sacred text wholly pertinent to our lives. Designed to keep the attention of all readers, each lively essay is both brief enough to be read in minutes and deep and substantive enough to deliver abundant food for thought.
Its cornerstone is its unique four-part meditation on the Jewish heritage. After briefly summarizing a Torah portion, the commentary orbits that portion through four central pillars of Jewish life—the Torah (Torat Yisrael), the land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael), the Jewish people (Am Yisrael), and Jewish thought (Mahshevet Yisrael)—illuminating how the four intersect and enrich one another. Furthering the Jewish thought motif, every essay ends with two questions for thought well suited for discussion settings. Each commentary can be used as the launchpad for a lesson, a sermon, a d’var Torah, or a discussion.
Readers from beginners to experts will come away with new understandings of our Jewish heritage—and be inspired to draw closer to its four dimensions.
“The JPS Jewish Heritage Torah Commentary promises to become an indispensable component of the modern Jewish library. This expansive, accessible, masterful, and truly inspiring volume is certain to make the study of Torah personally relevant and meaningful to a wide audience of grateful learners, both teachers and students, for years to come.”—Rabbi Oren J. Hayon, senior rabbi, Congregation Emanu El, Houston
“On behalf of every rabbi, Jewish educator, and inquiring mind: Thank you, Rabbi Garfinkel, for this extraordinary contribution to Torah study! Readable and relevant, every page is brimming with scholarship, creativity, inspiration, and love—a must-have for anyone looking to deepen their engagement with Jewish texts or tradition.”—Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove, Park Avenue Synagogue, New York City
“For more than twenty years those of us who were first exposed to Rabbi Garfinkel’s teaching Torah during summers at Ramah Wisconsin have been asking for an edition of his commentary for the entire yearly cycle of parshiyot. The pedagogic artistry he experimented with in his early work is on full display in The JPS Jewish Heritage Torah Commentary. By organizing his commentary through four dimensions followed by open-ended questions to consider, Rabbi Garfinkel thoroughly enriches the experience of weekly engagement with the Torah text.”—Rabbi David Soloff, director emeritus, Camp Ramah, Wisconsin
“Anyone who opens up the wisdom of Torah with so many points of entrance and in such a thoughtful and accessible manner should be congratulated as a master teacher. I look forward to using Rabbi Garfinkel’s sensitive and learned guide for my own teaching.”—Dr. Jane Shapiro, cofounder, Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning
“Rabbi Garfinkel has ingeniously applied the Torah to the significant issues of our times, and I love the questions at the end of each section that inspire us to think deeply.”—Rabbi Elliot Dorff, rector and Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy, American Jewish University
“Steeped in Jewish sources and the mind of his intended audience, Garfinkel takes an issue about which passions are flaring—Jewish past, present, and future in the Land of Israel—and connects it to the oldest texts of the Jewish people in original, refreshing, and understandable ways.”—Rabbi David Komerofsky, Temple Israel, Canton, Ohio
Rabbi Eli L. Garfinkel
Rabbi Eli L. Garfinkel is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth El in Somerset, New Jersey. He is author of three books used by the Ramah camps: Mikraot Ramah, a summer camp commentary on the Torah for teen campers and adult staffs; Dim’ot Ramah, a companion volume on Lamentations; and Torat Ramah, a commentary for younger campers.