Great Torah Lights from Great Torah Minds
A five volume set
By Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman Devora Publishing (2008)
Reviewed by Boris Segel - February 12, 2009
Great Torah Lights from Great Torah Minds is a unique collection of insights on the Torah, organized around the Parsha (weekly Torah reading). This book has been published as a five-volume set, with one book devoted to each of the five books in the Chumash. Written by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, this series contains not only Rabbi Goodman's own commentaries and insights, but also the insights of other great scholars, both modern and ancient. Many of the Rabbinic works cited in this book have long been out of print, and are found only in personal libraries. As well, Rabbi Goodman has incorporated a large amount of information from the writings of HaRav Pinchas Friedman of Belz (a renowned Belzer Chasidim), whose work was previously only available in Hebrew. He has also included commentary and insights on the Chumash by other great notable scholars such as the Kotzer Rebbe, Rav Avraham Yisrael Rosental, Rav Chaim Aryeh Leib of Yedvavneh, Rav Aharon Levine, Rav Meir Simchah of Dvinsk, HaRav Amram Greenwald (the Tzeilemer Rebbe), Rabbeinu Shlomo Ephrayim Luntshitz, The Vilna Gaon, Rav Yitzchak Blazer (also known as Reb Itzele Peterburger), and Rav Zalman Sorotzkin just to name a handful. Rabbi Goodman's commentary on the commentaries by these other outstanding Torah minds are contained within brackets so that you can easily follow who the 'speaker' is in each analysis. In addition, he has interwoven his commentary with information garnered from Talmudic, Rabbinic, and Midrashic sources.
Rabbi Goodman retired as a pulpit Rabbi at Young Israel of Far Rockaway in New York, and he also served as a teacher of Talmud and Tanach for hundreds of high school students over his forty-five year teaching career. In addition, Rabbi Goodman also studied at Mesivta Torah Vodaas and at Yeshiva University where he earned a doctorate in Jewish education. He received Smichah from Rav Soloveitchik, and has also served as the Rabbi of the Congregation Sons of Israel in Astoria, among his other pursuits. In writing Great Torah Lights from Great Torah Minds, he has drawn deeply from a lifetime of dedicate study, experience, and teaching skills to the writing of this unprecedented commentary on the Chumash. From this brief biography, you can begin to understand the depth of Rabbi Goodman's knowledge of, and passion for, the study of the Chumash (Torah, Five Books of Moses). His great wisdom and mastery of the material, and his selection of inspirational and probing commentaries from some of the greatest Rabbinic minds, will inspire you to dedicate yourself more fully to the study of the Torah, and will help you to more fully appreciate its beauty, grandeur, and indispensable wisdom.
For students, of all ages, and for those new to the study of the Chumash as well as those who have been avid students for years, this series will prove not only enlightening, but also inspirational. Because this series is written in English, it is particularly accessible to readers who have not yet mastered the necessary Hebrew skills to read the information presented herein in the original Hebrew. As well, no matter how knowledgeable you are about the Torah and its meaning, you are sure to discover information and insights on various topics that will be new to you, or which will improve your understanding of its meaning. Most important, this is a book that can, and should, be read and studied on a continual basis. Each reading will open new vistas of understanding to you, and you will also find that Rabbi Goodman's commentary on the Chumash will be useful to you when writing papers, giving speeches, or discussing and analyzing a tricky passage with your children, your students, your friends, or just yourself. In short, the entire five-volume set of Great Torah Lights from Great Torah Minds is an essential text and reference book for anyone desirous of gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Chumash, and it should be added to every Jewish home, school, and synagogue library.
Torah: Through a Zionist Vision, by Rabbi Avraham H. Feder.
This two-volume set provides insightful commentaries and analysis on the weekly Torah portion as seen through the prism of Zionism.
The Stone Edition of the Chumash, edited by Rabbi Nosson Scherman.
The Torah, Haftaros and Five Megillos with a Commentary Anthologized From the Rabbinic Writings.