FOR HOME/INDIVIDUAL STUDY
After three decades of leading adult study groups, I have found that text study is the ‘great equalizer.’ Regardless of background, anyone can relate to the Biblical text as the means through which the Divine Author communicates to the reader.
Scholars have been interpreting the text for millennia -- and I periodically refer to the oral tradition for elucidation and confirmation -- but our focus is on understanding the “peshat” -- the text in context, rather than midrashic homiletics.
Rabbi Hirsch considered the Biblical text as “lecture notes” of Divine Teachings, which need analysis and ‘decoding’ of their symbolic, poetic language. Given this assumption, the methodology of teaching, in each volume of Jewish ritual, I present an introduction to the topic, the Biblical texts in Hebrew and English, questions arising from the text, study of the Biblical context of the subject and language and, finally, I integrate the concepts and ideas into a coherent explanation of the Jewish ritual under investigation.
Thus, the two books on Jewish rituals offer a logical, step-by-step, orderly presentation that the reader can follow easily, with frequent summaries and guidance toward the final conclusions about the inherent meaningfulness of the Jewish practice under study.
The set of Studies on the Weekly Torah Reading excerpts four or five main topics from the week's reading, presents a background for each topic, asks questions and then discusses some classical responses. But the main focus is the creative, innovative interpretations of Rabbi Hirsch.
If you study the material (not just ‘read’ it), you will be rewarded with a fascinating journey into text analysis and a profound appreciation of the enduring Biblical teachings and meaningful contemporary practice.
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