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Tehillim: Book of Psalms

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Tehillim: Book of Psalms

Tehillim: Book of Psalms
With Commentary from the Talmud, Midrash, Kabbalah, and Classic Commentators and the Chasidic Masters
English - Hebrew Edition
Compiled by Rabbi Yosef B. Marcus
Kehot Publication Society, NY: 2016
ISBN: 978-0-8266-0218-5

Reviewed by Anna Dogole - February 20, 2017

A short review:

This edition of Tehillim - The Book of Psalms, compiled by Rabbi Yosef B. Marcus is an inspirational and educational book that includes a wealth of commentaries compiled from both classical and less well known comentatories. In short, this book will enhance your spirtual life and it is an ideal 'textbook' for anyone wishing to delve into the meaning and mysteries of the Psalms. It is also a book that is beautiful to look at. The text is ideal for use in the home and at school, and it will serve readers of all ages.

A more detailed review:

The Psalms (Tehillim), written by King David, has long been a source of comfort, joy, and prayer for the Jewish people. The Book of Psalms has not only been a book that we turn to in times of joy and in sadness, but it is also a book to study and learn from. For those without a firm grasp of Hebrew, this has not always been an easy task. While there are many English translations of the Book of Psalms, there are not that many translations that also included a wide range commentaries, in English. This oversight has been corrected with the Kehot Publication Society's release of Tehillim: The Book of Psalms, compiled by Rabbi Yosef B. Marcus.

This edition of the Psalms includes the complete text of the Book of Psalms in Hebrew with nikkud (vowels) along with an excellent English translation on the facing page. However, what makes this book exceptional is the wide range of commentaries that have been included. These include traditional sources such as the Talmud, the Midrash and Rashi. However, this book also includes commentaries that are less commonly found in English translations of the text, such as the Pshat commentaries (technically this refers to the literal translations of a text), Rabbi Altschuler's Metzudot David commentaries, as well as commentaries by Radak (Rabbi Kimchi) and Rabbis Meiri, Sforno, Yaavetz, Alshich, and the like. There are also commentaries derived from the Kabbalah, Chasidut sources, and from the Drush (homiletic sources).

This vast range of commentaries provides English language readers with a treasure trove of information about the Psalms, making this an ideal study text for anyone seeking to delve into the meaning and importance of the text. Rabbi Marcus has included an informative introduction to the text that not only explains the honored place that the Psalms has within Judaism, but also how to 'say Tehillim' and spiritual rewards that can be garnered by following the custom of saying / reading at least one Psalm every day. He also provides an overview of the history of King David and creation of the Psalms, as well as an overview of the sources from which the commentaries were drawn.

To say the least, this edition of the Tehillim, is a gorgeous book. The cover is a dark blue with silver writing and an embossed cover. The edges of the pages are all gilded in gold, and the pages are laid out in an intuitive and easy to read format. The Hebrew text and the English translation are found on facing pages, with the relevant commentaries spread across the bottom of both pages. The Psalms (at the top of the page) are annotated with occasional explanatory notes that cover just about everything from recommendations on which Psalms to use as prayers for various problems to historical notes that help explain King David's purpose in writing the various Psalms.

Unlike many Tehillim that are printed as small books designed to carry in your purse or by hand, this edition is very large measuring about 8.5" x 11". This large size allowed the publishers to use a larger font size than I am use to seeing the smaller Tehillim. In this book, the main text printed in an easy-on-the-eye, very dark, font that appears to be in a 14-point font size. The commentaries look to me to be in either an 11 or 12-point font size, while the annotations printed in the margins next to the Psalms are in a smaller font size. (Sorry, I do not have an accurate chart to measure the font size accurately.) The commentaries are printed primarily in black with the titles, and the lines being commented upon, printed in green. Throughout there are also sections called Psalms in Practice. These sections contain text, in black, printed on a light green background to set them apart from the rest of the text which is printed on a white background. Overall, the visuals in this text are very pleasing and easy on the eye.

If all this was not enough, this remarkable edition of the Book of Psalms also includes the text of the prayer said after saying Tehillim, and the prayer for the night of Hoshaana Rabbah. It includes a chart listing which Psalms are said on the various days throughout the month of Elul. This edition includes an extensive bibliography that will serve as an outstanding foundation for anyone looking to study the full text of the commentaries touched upon in the text. This bibliography also provides additional information about the commentators and their works, which will prove useful to anyone simply interested in learning bit more about the sources used in this book. This text also includes an exhaustive index.

To learn more about this book, or to place an order, visit the Kehot Publication Society's online store at:

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