Tonight we talked about Torah, which can be translated as “teaching” and denotes (1) the first five books of the Bible or (2) the broader scope of Jewish learning. We also looked at the Tanakh, or Jewish Bible, which includes Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy), Nevi’im [Prophets] (Joshua through Micah), and Ketuvim [Writings] (Psalms through Chronicles).
We looked at how differently a passage can be translated, comparing Everett Fox’s very literal translation to several others, including the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh, the Oxford Study Bible, and Robert Alter’s translation of the Bible. We looked at many different commentaries on the Bible as well. Finally, we explored the idea of midrash, expansions on the text that can take the form of sermons, legal discussions, or stories.
We talked a little about where the various versions of the Bible come from, and why different parts of Christianity have different Bibles.
At the end, we had a lively discussion about the various names by which we refer to God.
Next week, a treat: Dr. Jehon Grist from Lehrhaus Judaica will join us to talk about Jewish History up until the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. I always look forward to his lectures, and I hope you’ll enjoy learning with him as much as I do!
– Rabbi Adar