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October 22, 2016 / 20 Tishri, 5777
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Seeing The Midbar For The Trees

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Vortelach have taken over. They have proliferated to the point where, for many of us, our understanding and reading of the Chumash is filtered through our favorite vortelach (literally, words, but used to mean a quick, sometimes original idea on a particular pasuk or point in the week’s parshah). We are so enthralled by the latest and newest vort that we seldom leave time or regard for seeing the bigger picture.

The bigger picture – of both the entire Sefer Bamidbar and each parshah therein – is what Journey of Faith is all about.

Clearly a labor of love, Journey of Faith was written by Rabbi Yonasan David Arenias, and it is a grand achievement.

In Journey of Faith, Rabbi Arenias, a writer and educator, has done much. He’s collated the classical commentaries, placing them together, but also letting each breathe on it own so the reader can follow a particular peirush’s approach. (Primarily, the views are presented in a running commentary, which, in the narrative sections of the Chumash, reads in a smooth and engaging style.)

Before each parshah, He’s written an outline of the parshah, a detailed overview, and summaries of the parshah’s chronology and themes.

In the back of the book, he’s included further summaries of each parshah, as well as a full chronology of the entire sefer.

Rabbi Arenias has also provided his own translation to the Chumash.

And before all this get’s started, the introduction to Sefer Bamidbar, which, alone, is almost worth the price of admission, gives the reader an enlightening perspective on the generation of Jews who went through the wilderness, on Hashem’s providence, and on the sefer’s major themes.

Though it contains all these pieces, the book is laid out clearly; one element does not hobble another. Plus Rabbi Arenias has a gift for clear and engaging writing.

Sefer Bamidbar is beginning in a couple of weeks. With Journey of Faith in front of you during the shul’s leining, or at home on a long Shabbos afternoon, you’ll enjoy worthy insights and see the entire sefer anew.

More information about the book may be found at www.menorah-books.com, and it may be purchased there and at many Jewish bookstores.

Shlomo Greenwald

About the Author: Shlomo Greenwald is associate editor of The Jewish Press.

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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/book-reviews/seeing-the-midbar-for-the-trees/2014/05/08/

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