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URJ Books And Music :: Torah Commentary Documentation & FAQ

Torah Commentary Documentation & FAQ

The Torah: A Modern Commentary
Documentation for the Revised Edition

Part I: Hebrew Text

More than a thousand minor discrepancies exist between the Hebrew text of the revised edition and the first edition. This file, prepared by the Hebrew text's editor (Rabbi David E. S. Stein), accounts for two sources of the discrepancy: corrections of typos in the first edition, and changes based upon what scholars now know about the Masoretic text that the first edition's editors did not.

This documentation has an additional purpose. It sheds light on an abiding paradox of the Masoretic text: Plausible readings of the biblical text are often wrong, whereas anomalies are often correct. The documentation here details the widespread yet low-level variance in the text of the Hebrew Bible as we have received it. Thus it turns the revised edition into a teaching tool for understanding the Masoretic text.

Changes Made to the Biblical Hebrew Text [772k, PDF] Updated: 4/13/05

Part II: Translation

These files account for the gender-related changes made to the well-known New Jewish Publication Society (NJPS) translation. More than 500 translator's notes provide what may well be the most detailed and comprehensive analysis of the Torah's gender ascriptions to date.

The revising translator (Rabbi David E. S. Stein) created two-part documentation for each of the last four books of the Torah:

  1. Highlighting of the individual gender-related changes made relative to the 2002 version of the NJPS translation.*
  2. Translator's notes. These establish the gender sense of Hebrew terms according to how the ancient Israelite audience would have understood them in context. They then assess the English rendering in light of that ancient understanding, as well as that of the contemporary audience.**

The project's consulting editors reviewed an earlier version of these files, in order to ensure that the work was defensible and met the standards of academic scholarship. The translator's notes have since been edited for online publication.

  1. Methodology: Frequently Asked Questions [PDF] Updated: 6/9/14
  2. Exodus[PDF] Updated: 1/28/2013
  3. Leviticus [PDF] Updated: 1/28/2013
  4. Numbers [PDF] Updated: 6/9/14
  5. Deuteronomy Updated: 6/1/05
  6. Abbreviations and Bibliography [PDF] Updated 10/19/2010

* For simplicity, this documentation does not track many straightforward substitutions such as "the Eternal" for "the Lord."

** The typical note closes by giving the corresponding rendering in the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), a widely used gender-accurate translation that was published under ecumenical Christian auspices in 1989. This is provided as a convenience to the reader, because comparison can be instructive.

Part III: Errata

Correction Made in 3rd Printing of Hardcover Edition

Corrections in the Hardcover Edition: 4th Printing (May 2008)

Corrections in the Hardcover Edition: 5th Printing (June 2010)

Corrections in the Hardcover Edition: 6th Printing (March 2013)

Return to Torah: A Modern Commentary


Upcoming Events:
December 11, 2013
Biennial 2013
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Haftarah Commentary, The

Warehouse Sale! Formerly $50.00. No other discounts apply.

The Haftarah Commentary is a comprehensive new translation of the weekly selections from the Prophets and Writings, complete with meticulously cantillated Hebrew text, commentary and translations, essays, gleanings from sources modern and ancient, notes, glossary, bibliography, and additional selections for use as alternatives to the traditional haftarot. To insure the accuracy and accessibility of the new volume, consulting editor S. David Sperling, a professor of Hebrew at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, reviewed the entire text and commentary.

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"The goal is to entice people into reading the Bible."--Gustav Niebuhr, The New York Times

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My Jewish World: An Early Childhood Music Curriculum (Book/CD set)

Music can be a wonderfully effective teaching tool for preschool aged children. My Jewish World guides teachers through the process of introducing and utilizing song in the classroom to teach Jewish values.

In her comprehensive and easy to follow book, Judy Caplan Ginsburgh includes twenty-six songs, religious and secular, that will help to facilitate an environment of fun and learning. Each song addresses important Jewish concepts and many use Hebrew words and prayers. Judy provides comments, activities, and creative ideas, specific for each song, which can be used in the classroom to learn about being Jewish every day. The importance of saying the Sh'ma each morning, learning the Hebrew words for colors, understanding body parts, and the value of cooperation are only some of the Jewish concepts touched on in the book.

In addition, Judy Ginsburgh includes a list of suggested books for many of the topics. These books help to reinforce and expand the lessons laid out in the curriculum.

With a helpful glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish terms and the companion music CD, My Jewish World is a wonderful guide to making music significant in the Jewish classroom.

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Rabbi Edwin Goldberg's new book Heads and Tales: Stories from the Sages to Enlighten our Minds brings age-old tales to life once more. Designed as an introduction to the art of reading rabbinic literature, Heads and Tales opens the door to the creative genius of the rabbis of long ago.

Using this carefully selected collection of stories, Heads and Tales will help instill a love of Jewish stories, while also helping students gain the skills needed to be critical readers of these traditional stories. In addition, these stories demonstrate that the issues that concerned our ancestors in past generations are similar or are the same as those that concern us today. The tales found in the book, while they may have been written in years gone by, remain most relevant.

  • Perfect introduction to traditional text study
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  • Discussion questions included
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  • Well-suited for high school or adult education classes

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