STUDIES ON THE WEEKLY PARASHA
In our Studies on the weekly parasha, following Rabbi Hirsch’s approach to Biblical text, we do not treat the Torah as a book of literature, although it may certainly be viewed as a poetic epic. We do not see the Bible’s purpose as predominately a history book, although it presents a history of humankind and the development of the Jewish nation. We are also not going to consider it a record of early ancient Near East religious practices, although we will see that it records and modifies some contemporaneous social, legal and ritual laws.
Rather, we assume that the fundamental purpose of the “Book of Books” is pedagogic and didactic -- a book of moral instruction and spiritual inspiration, conveying concepts, truths and laws about one’s relationship to his or her self, to the other, to the environment and to God — and as such, a guide to experiencing one’s life in a fundamentally meaningful way, spiritually and socially.
To that end, we attempt to draw out the inherent truths, values and behavioral guides communicated throughout the text “out of itself” — allowing the text to speak to us, through context and through poetic language, as reflected throughout Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch’s Commentary.