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Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Essays of the Book of Leviticus, 10 May 2010
This review is from: Unlocking the Torah Text: An In-Depth Journey in the Weekly Parsha (Hardcover)
Shmuel Goldin in writing "Unlocking the Torah Text: An In-depth Journey into the weekly Parsha: Vayikra", which for Christians is the Book of Leviticus, is the third book published in the series is covering a tough yet very important book. Rabbi Goldin collection of essays covers the basic themes found in Vayikra (Leviticus). This third book of the Torah is unique that instead of the novel like narrative of the previous two books Vayikra contains detailed sacrificial law, Temple rites, ritual observances, holiday regulations and ...well you get the point. One of the questions that is asked in one of the sections to the Rabbi is never answered and is one I have always had though I am sure is a topic of debate.

The book is an outline of Vayikra and each topic is broken down into a clear box on what the context of the section will be followed by questions as Rabbi Goldin believes that questioning and challenging the text itself is encouraged. The Rabbi claims to leave no part of the is off limits. The introduction includes the definition of pshat and drash. Goldin writes that pshat is the "straightforward explanations of the text." Whereas, drash considers the writings of the rabbinic community that includes lessons and ideas beyond the literal text. This gives us an understanding of the format of this text.

The book is easy to follow and is not comprehensive but covers many important portions of the text. You will find that all the questions posed have several answers offered and the Rabbi gives the reader some points to ponder. This very important text of God's Laws is very interesting. Where as I read that God's Laws are clear and must be followed as proof as the consequence faced when Aharon's sons did not follow the exact rite as ordained by God. If you believe as Judaism does that the Messiah has not yet come you must follow these Laws as handed down by God. The question I would like to see discussed is how are these rites practiced since the destruction of the Second Temple?

The format is easy to read and flows.Plus the sharing all the different rabbinical commentaries show just how diverse Judaism is; like the many branches of Christianity. Some of the rabbinical commentaries fill in details which the Torah does not mention and therefore tries to add to the Word of God. The oral traditions and text like the Talmud are referenced as if there words carry the same weight as the Torah! The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah (c. 200 AD), the first written compendium of Judaism's Oral Law; and the Gemara (c. 500 AD), a discussion of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Tanakh. The positive point of Goldins book is that in his essays he does share all the differing rabbinical commentaries with us and leaves the floor open for a good debate.

"Unlocking the Torah Text: An In-depth Journey into the weekly Parsha: Vayikra" provides an approach the Torah that is quite easy to follow and the differing Rabbinical interpretations show us the debates that must make up today's Judaism. If you have an interest in the Torah and or Judaism this is a good book to read. I feel it cannot help but expand ones understanding of Vayikra.
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Location: Florida USA

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