A colleague recently observed that Jews are obsessed with lists. Whether or not that observation is true, it is certainly true that scholars throughout Jewish history have attempted to distill Judaism to a number of core truths: 613 commandments, ten commandments, thirteen principles of faith. In this volume, Rabbi Dr. Hammer asserts that Biblical (and especially Torah) Judaism has fourteen revolutionary truths that it introduced to the world. These include some that are clearly supported by Biblical texts, such as God’s uniqueness or the Sabbath day, and others for which there is support as well as some degree of contradiction within the texts, such as the equality of men and women or the “mitigation” of slavery. The author explains his selection of these fourteen truths and examines how these ideas have developed over history. When I was done reading, I felt compelled to develop my own list of Biblical Judaism’s contributions to civilization. And, after all, shouldn’t a good book get the reader thinking?
The Torah Revolution: Fourteen Truths that Changed the World
Rabbi Arnold D. Samlan is a Jewish educator and rabbi living in Miami, Florida. He serves as executive director of the Orloff Central Agency for Jewish Education of Broward County.
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