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Studies in Rashi: Bereishit

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Studies in Rashi: Bereishit
Studies in Rashi: Bereishit
From the Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
Translated by Rabbi Y. Eliezer Danzinger
Kehot Publication Society, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8266-0706-5

Reviewed by Herbert White - December 19, 2011

Study the Torah without commentaries is like wandering in the desert without a guide. You might eventually get where you are going, but it will be a long and difficult challenge. With a guide, your travels will go smoother, your trip will be more enjoyable, and you will gain more from the experience than if you spent your entire time just struggling to survive. If you could select only one guide to walk with you through your Torah studies, most would recommend Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak 1040-1105). His commentaries have helped to explain difficult concepts, highlight momentous occurrences, and in general, served as an unseen teacher and mentor to countless generations of students.

In Studies in Rashi: Bereishit, you actually have two guides, one is Rashi and the other is the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. This invaluable volume contains twelve essays by the Rebbe that expound upon Rashi's commentaries on Bereishit and which also explores the technique that the Rebbe used when studying Rashi's commentaries. In this volume you will find one essay on each of the twelve Parshah contained in the book of Bereishit (Genesis). All the essays in this collection are presented in vowelized Hebrew with an English translation on the facing pages. Some of the original footnotes (translated into English) appear along the bottom of the pages. All of the original footnotes, in Hebrew, can be found at the end of the book. These essays were originally written in either Yiddish or Hebrew, and most were translated into English by Rabbi Y. Eliezer Danzinger.

Studies in Rashi: Bereishit is a phenomenal study aid, it not only provides unique insights into the book of Bereishit, and Rashi's commentaries, but it also provides insight into Chassidic philosophy and the Rebbe's unique learning style. These essays illustrate why the Rebbe was deemed such an inspiring educator - his explanations are clear and precise, and he poses questions that challenge you to delve deeper into the subject matter and to strive for greater spiritual heights. This book is ideal for anyone seeking to gain greater insights into Rashi and to engage in serious study of the Chumash - it is particularly well suited for English readers who do not yet have the necessary skills to read these essays in Hebrew or Yiddish.

In addition to the twelve essays that are the core of this book, you'll also find two very useful additions. One Rashi's General Principles, a list of seventeen rules that the Rebbe used as the basis for his study of Rashi, and which you can use as a guide for your own studies. The other is a detailed bibliography that is an ideal 'jumping-off' point for those looking to continue their study of Rashi, the Chumash, the Rebbe, or Chassidic philosophy in general. Studies in Rashi: Bereishit is essential reading for anyone desirous of gaining a deeper understanding of Sefer Bereishit, and in exploring the Rebbe's unique style of learning.

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