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 I use in this book is the following: introduction to the topic, presentation of texts, questions arising from the text, study of Biblical context of the subject and language and, finally, integration of concepts and ideas into a coherent explanation of the Jewish ritual under investigation.


This is 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.


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.