The Jewish Eye
Sforno: Commentary on the Torah
Sforno: Commentary on the Torah
Complete in One Volume
By Rabbi Raphael Pelcovitz
ArtScroll / Mesorah
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - February 8, 2010
This is a classic Bible commentary by a fifteenth century Italian Jewish scholar who generally prefers to combine traditional, philosophical and scientific ideas. See my review on his Commentary on Pirkei Avos. The following are some examples of his views. He agrees with the great twelfth century rationalist that Genesis 1:27's statement that God created people in God's image means that He gave them intelligence, and people are obligated to use their intelligence. (Readers need to be careful with the explanatory notes. The note here speaks about angels, which is not in Sforno's commentary.) Sforno also agrees with Maimonides that God does not need or want sacrifices and only allowed the Israelites to offer them because of human needs. An example of his near mystical comments is his statement on Genesis 2:2 that God completed creation at the exact "beginning of the seventh day, at the indivisible moment which marked the inception of the future time, but yet was not part of it."
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of seventeen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides. The Orthodox Union (OU) and Yeshiva University publish weekly chapters of Drazin and Wagner's book Let's Study Onkelos on www.ou.org/torah and on firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is http://booksnthoughts.com.
The views expressed in this review/article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jewish Eye.
This classic commentary, a model of brevity and profundity, has never been made so clear in any language. Rabbi Ovadiah Sforno was a 16th-century Italian rabbi and physician whose comments and insights are as relevant today as they were in his day. This volume includes the entire Chumash text and translation as well as the most accurate version of Sforno. Translated and annotated by Rabbi Raphael Pelcovitz. Complete in one volume. Now with full Chumash text and translation.
- Sforno: Commentary on Pirkei Avos, by Rabbi Raphael Pelcovitz.
Although Sforno was one of the great halachic authorities of Italy, his fame rests primarily on his commentaries to many books of the Scripture. However, he wrote extensively on other areas of the Torah as well, and his commentary on Pirkei Avos/Ethics of the Fathers is one of his little known gems.
- Through an Opaque Lens, by Rabbi Hayyim J. Angel.
This volume contains twenty well-written intelligent essays on the Bible. The first five discuss how the Bible should be read by offering many examples from many scholars, and in the remaining fifteen essays, Rabbi Angel demonstrates the broadness and depth of the biblical tales, by offering the views of some four dozen highly respected Bible commentators.
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