The Illuminated Torah is the collaborative work of contemporary Israeli artist Avner Moriah and art historian Shulamit Laderman. One feels physically engulfed in the illustrated stories upon opening this large format, color-bursting book. At first glance each image seems to relay an overall explanation of one of the 54 Biblical stories. However, with a second look the viewer begins to notice whimsical details, placed by Moriah perhaps to express an element of the story that is not usually considered or to express a layer of the story that Moriah relates to in a personal manner. Through varying his choice of color, composition, subjects and whimsy, Moriah takes the role of commentator, with Laderman on his side as our translator of his visual language. Moriah does not shy away from expressing his own understanding of Biblical stories that may seem contrary to traditional explanations. For the story of Va-yera, the artist greatly sympathizes with Abraham when he is told to sacrifice his son. He chooses to express Abraham and Isaac responding to the test that God had put before them in a touching yet distraught human way. Isaac is not portrayed as the cooperative son as we were taught to believe, willingly going along with God’s plan. Rather, Moriah portrays Abraham, knife in at hand, leading a fearful Isaac along the path. The marks creating the mountains that these two forefathers climb are rendered in a jarring style, building a feeling of suspense. But there are also stories which Moriah chooses to express according to a traditional understanding,yet they still radiate a vibrant energy. This is true for the illustrations of the breaking of the tablets, in which fiery oranges and blues dominate the page and exude tragedy, or the story of Moses barred from entering Israel. Even for these incidents, which seem to have very clear explanations, Laderman sheds light on the moments and on details of Moriah’s work that we might not have taken into consideration. Laderman precisely navigates the viewer through this complex artwork with simplicity and ease. It is difficult to avoid the temptation of flipping through the images of The Illuminated Torah, for the images alone create a thoughtfully paced visual narrative of the 54 stories presented. Moriah’s sense of pacing seems intuitive, and it is clear that while each page was given close attention upon their creation, he also took into consideration how the images as a collection would flow. While there are grandly crafted full page illustrations, such as the creation story, or the giving of the Torah, Moriah includes precious smaller yet incredibly elegant illustrations that give off just as much energy as the full page pieces. For those well versed in all 54 stories of the Torah and those who are not, The Illuminated Torah is sure to bring fresh insight to all who choose this as a guide to accompany their Torah study.