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Onkelos on the Torah: Leviticus

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Onkelos on the Torah: Leviticus

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Onkelos on the Torah: Leviticus
Understanding the Bible Text
By Israel Drazin and Stanely M. Wagner
Gefen Publishing House: Jerusalem and New York, (2008 / 5768)
ISBN: 978-965-229-425-8

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - December 8, 2008

Onkelos on the Torah: Leviticus is the third volume in the Onkelos on the Torah: Understanding the Bible Text five-volume series based upon Onkelos' Aramaic translation of the Torah (Chumash). This volume includes extensive commentaries on the book of Leviticus, a variety of Aramaic, Hebrew and English texts, and the Haftarah (Readings from the Prophets) for each weekly Torah portion and special occasions.

This volume contains the complete text of Leviticus (Va'yikra), in Hebrew, along with the vocalized Aramaic Targum Onkelos text and vocalized Rashi text. An English translation of the Targum Onkelos, by Israel Drazin and Stanely M. Wagner is also included, as are extensive commentaries, in English, from a variety of sources. This vast body of material is enhanced by an insightful introduction that explains the methodology used by the translators and an extensive explanation of the wide range of materials to be found in this volume. You will also find an overview of the history and place in Jewish learning, for the Targum Onkelos.

Continuing with the insightful information presented in the first two-volumes of this series, the authors have included a detailed introduction to this volume entitled: Introduction to Targum Onkelos to Leviticus, that provides more information about Onkelos, and in this case, Saadiah Gaon. Throughout the text the authors have included boxed texts that highlight important aspects of each section under study. In addition, at the end of each chapter you will find a section called Beyond the Text that explores difficult and controversial topics in greater detail, and which pose thought-provoking questions that will enhance your understanding of the text and which will enliven your study of the material.

This unique series, and this volume, will prove invaluable to anyone seeking to study and understand Onkelos' Aramaic translation of the Torah and its literal meaning. It is also an ideal series for anyone desirous of studying the Torah in either English or Hebrew, but who need commentaries in English. This volume concludes with several appendixes that provide additional commentaries, a selected bibliography, and a glossary of terms, works cited, and brief biographical sketches that commentators referenced in the text.

As with the other volumes in this series, this volume features a brownish-red cover with gold lettering and a raised design. The paper used in the text is cream-colored and the print is dark and clear. The pages have wide margins, the text is well organized and the various translations and commentaries are intuitively laid out. In short, Israel Drazin and Stanely M. Wagner have done a stellar job in organizing, writing, translating, and explaining the material contained in this volume, and the series as a whole. Onkelos on the Torah: Understanding the Bible Text is a phenomenal study aid and invaluable resource for anyone who is serious about studying the Torah and in learning its literal meaning.

All five volumes in the Onkelos On the Torah: Understanding the Bible Text series are now available and they can be purchased individually or as a boxed set via the following links: Back to top

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