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Sforno: Commentary on the Torah

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Sforno: Commentary on the Torah

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Sforno: Commentary on the Torah
Complete in One Volume
By Rabbi Raphael Pelcovitz
ArtScroll / Mesorah
ISBN-10: 0899062687
ISBN-13: 9780899062686

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 and on His website is

The views expressed in this review/article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jewish Eye.
Book Description:

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.

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