Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

A Good Book on The Good Book

Posted on | January 12, 2010 | By David Linn | 12 Comments

In the past we’ve solicited advice on and discussed various books here on BBT. See, for example, Introduction to Judaism Books – Are There Any Must Reads?, The Most Important Sefer to Learn, and Beyond BT Survival Kit – Pick Six Books.

I’d like to hear your thoughts, recommendations and advice limited to Parsha books written in English.

Comments

12 Responses to “A Good Book on The Good Book”

  1. Neil Harris
    January 12th, 2010 @ 11:00 am

    Not in any order:
    Lilmode Ulelamade: From the Teachings of Our Sages by R Mordechai Katz

    Love Your Neighbor and
    Growth Through Torah, both by R Zelig Pliskin

  2. Mr. Cohen
    January 12th, 2010 @ 11:02 am

    Since this discussion is limited to Parshah books written in English, I must mention these two:

    {1} The Living Torah by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.
    The author was a special genius and tzaddik, and the book itself was the first English language Bible translation written by an Orthodox Rabbi.

    {2} The Metsudah Chumash / Rashi is very helpful in learning the original Hebrew for both Chumash and Rashi.

  3. Mordechai Y. Scher
    January 12th, 2010 @ 11:47 am

    Meditations on the Torah by Rav B S Jacobson. My college girlfriend gave me this book, and I still treasure its intelligence.

    Sabbath Shiurim by Rav M Miller (Gateshead).

    Night of Watching by Rav Zvi Dov Kanotopsky. I received this from the author’s son Yosef, who taught my first shiur g’mara in yeshiva. Rav Kanotopsky had a really unique mind.

    My wife especially likes learning a shiur every Shabbat from Prof. Nehama Leibowitz’s ‘Studies’ and ‘New Studies’ series on each humash.

  4. Bob Miller
    January 12th, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

    While it’s not a short work, I very much like the new Hebrew-English edition of the Hirsch Chumash with text + English commentary (Check the Feldheim or Judaica Press website. They jointly published this edition).

    I find that the Hirsch commentary addresses some key questions that other commentaries do not.

  5. Gary
    January 12th, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

    Last year I benefited from and enjoyed Rabbi Yisroel Pesach Feinhandler’s two-volume set, “Beloved Children,” published by Feldheim. For each parshah, there is a story, usually about a famous Rabbi, a midrash with questions and answers, and a section on child-rearing. Rabbi Feinhandler has also published a set pertaining to marriage called “Beloved Companions,” but I have not read that one.

  6. David Linn
    January 12th, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

    The Call of the Torah- R Munk is a grant anthology of various sources.

    Living Each Week – R Twerski has three to five short excellent insights with a touch of chasidus and often a psychological angle.

  7. Nathan
    January 12th, 2010 @ 4:57 pm

    The English translation of YALKUT MEAM LOEZ is about 30 thick volumes and expensive, but if you have the time, money and space for it, then this may be the king of all Parshah (and Nach) commentaries available English.

  8. Judy Resnick
    January 17th, 2010 @ 2:59 pm

    I genuinely enjoyed reading Rabbi Alexander Zushe Friedman’s Maayanot Shel Torah, rendered in English as Wellsprings of Torah. I believe that a new edition of this recent classic was just published.

    I have not read it, nor do I remember the exact title, but there is a set of commentaries by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, zatzal, on the Parshah of the week translated into English.

    There is a series known as “Peninim” on the Torah, published in softcover, that is very good, but it may be out of print. One yeshiva sent it out as part of a fundraising effort, so it may not be widely available in Judaica stores.

    The Shmuz on the parshah has just come out in book form.

    Years ago, I bought a set of Soncino Nach very cheaply, thirteen volumes for $78 (six dollars each). It is not the best because of its many non-Jewish commentators.

    I would second the opinion above recommending Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s Living Torah, now available with both the English and the Hebrew.

  9. Mollie Adler
    January 18th, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

    The weekly medrash is fantastic. Also a midrash and a maaseh is very good too.

  10. Bob Miller
    January 18th, 2010 @ 4:13 pm

    The book Judy mentioned with Rav Moshe’s commentary translated into English is Bastion of Faith by R’ Avraham Fishelis. It seems to be out of print, but resellers at Amazon, for example, list it.

    See
    http://www.amazon.com/Bastion-Faith-exposition-lectures-FEINSTEIN/dp/0960556044

  11. rachel w.
    January 18th, 2010 @ 4:49 pm

    This book is definitely not for very newcomers (because some of the medrashim expecially when traslated seem quite far fetched), but, as a woman who has very little time to delve into deep texts, I find “The Midrash Says” a great way to read up on the contents of the weekly parasha, while relaxing on the couch after candlelighting (instead of perusing the newspaper, or something mindless like that). That is not the optimal time for me to be able to keep my eyes open with a difficult to follow Sefer, but this reads like a story book. Actually the English Meam Loez is also good for that, but I only have 1-2 volumes of it, so it doesn’t get me that far.

  12. Judy Resnick
    January 20th, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

    Thanks, Bob Miller, for coming up with the title and author of the commentary of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein zatzal on the Parsha HaShavua.

    Thanks, Mollie Adler, for mentioning A Midrash and a Maaseh. That’s a two-volume set on the weekly parsha by Rabbi Hanoch Teller. I have not read it, but I have read many other works by this author as I am a big Hanoch Teller fan.

    Last but certainly not least I would like to recommend A Treasury of Chassidic Tales On The Torah, which is an English translation of Sippurei Chassidim by Rabbi S.Y. Zevin. The translation is excellent and the stories are top notch. The companion volumes, A Treasury of Chassidic Tales On The Festivals, by the same author, is just as good.

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