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.
Pinchas Roth (PR) is a post-doctoral fellow at Ben Gurion University of the Negev.