The Mod­ern Men’s Torah Com­men­tary: New Insights from Jew­ish Men on the 54 Week­ly Torah Portions

  • Review
By – October 31, 2011
Fem­i­nism has brought men to a greater aware­ness of their own mas­culin­i­ty. And the egal­i­tar­i­an­ism of lib­er­al denom­i­na­tions of Judaism has made the role of men in Judaism less than self-evi­dent. A Men’s Torah Com­men­tary’ is a con­cept that, until recent­ly, would have seemed utter­ly redun­dant. But today it is refresh­ing­ly rel­e­vant. This vol­ume con­tains a chap­ter for every week in the Jew­ish cal­en­dar, one for every parashah. The writ­ers are all men, but beyond that fact they cov­er a wide spec­trum. Rab­bis, aca­d­e­mics, lay lead­ers, from (lib­er­al) Ortho­dox through Con­ser­v­a­tive and Reform to Jew­ish Renew­al. The con­tent of the chap­ters also varies, from eru­dite hom­i­lies and reflec­tions on rab­binic Midrash to poems and drama­ti­za­tions of the bib­li­cal nar­ra­tive. Most fas­ci­nat­ing of all is the range of inter­pre­ta­tions giv­en by the authors of their task — what should a men’s com­men­tary’ on the Torah’ look like? For some, it is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to focus on the needs and con­cerns of con­tem­po­rary men— career and finan­cial secu­ri­ty, fam­i­ly, health. For oth­ers, it is a focus on the pecu­liar fail­ings of bib­li­cal men. From week to week, dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives come to the fore, mak­ing this a fas­ci­nat­ing new vol­ume of thoughts on the parashah. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, index.

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