Mesorah Publications has released a compilation of essays that originally appeared as overviews to ArtScroll’s commentaries on the Book of Bereishis, all authored by one of the greatest Torah commentators of our time, Rabbi Nosson Scherman.
The new volume, titled The Majesty of Bereishis: A deeper understanding from Creation to Mitzrayim, is an intellectual and spiritual feast, providing insight into – and interpretation of – the opening chapters of the Chumash and the early history of the Jewish people.
Rabbi Scherman, a native of Newark, N.J., became at the age of 10 a dormitory student at Brooklyn’s famed yeshiva Torah Vodaath, the institution from which he eventually received his rabbinic ordination.
He continued his studies for 11 years at Beth Medrosh Elyon, the post-graduate division of Torah Vodaath. It was during that time that he established close, lifelong relationships with the yeshiva’s roshei hayeshiva, Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky and Rabbi Gedaliah Schorr, both of blessed memory.
Those two relationships have defined his career in Torah.
In 1971 Rabbi Scherman became the menahel of Yeshiva and Mesivta Karlin Stolin, where he was to serve for the next six years. It was during this time that we met. I was a member of Community School Board 20 and together we were able to assist students in his yeshiva living in my district to obtain the various services they were entitled to by law.
In late 1975, Rabbi Scherman began a new chapter in his life – one that would transform the world of Jewish religious publishing and indeed the world of Torah study itself.
Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz, zt’’l, invited him to write an introduction to Megillas Esther. Initially, it was intended to be a single-volume tribute to Rabbi Mair Fogel, z’’l, a dear friend of ours and a devoted teacher in my school district whose sudden passing in the prime of his life shook us all to the core.
The response to the Megillah and its overview essay by Rabbi Scherman was stunning. The book went through several printings and sold more than 20,000 copies – at the time an unprecedented achievement for an Orthodox publication.
For Rabbi Scherman, this act of chesed for a dear friend came to redefine his life’s work and professional career.
Rabbi Scherman continues, all these decades later, to serve as general editor of Mesorah Publications. Under his supervision, the Tanach, the Talmud, and related works have been translated into fluent English with commentary designed for rabbis and laypersons from all walks of life. Meanwhile, his overviews provide eloquent wide-ranging perspectives on the deep and underlying messages contained in the Torah and prayer texts.
The Majesty of Bereishis, with Rabbi Scherman’s classic overviews on each of the parashiyos in Sefer Bereishis, will serve as a constant companion to any edition of Bereishis for many years to come.