“The Commentators’ Bible: Genesis: The Rubin JPS Miqra’ot Gedolot” edited by Michael Carasik— In The Beginning

Carasik, Michael (editor). “The Commentators’ Bible: Genesis: The Rubin JPS Miqra’ot Gedolot”, Jewish Publication Society, 2018. 2018

In the Beginning

Amos Lassen

I absolutely love this series of Bible commentaries and now have all of them except Exodus and I am saving my money for that one. These commentaries known as Miqra’ot Gedolot have inspired and educated generations of Hebrew readers and in my case, reawakened my personal desire to intensely study the Five Books of Moses. I study everyday for an hour and now that I have this volume, it will be that much easier to do so because all the traditional commentaries are in one volume and in English. This was the final volume of the acclaimed JPS English edition of Miqra’ot Gedolot that includes the commentaries of the greats—-Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nachmanides, Rashbam, Abarbanel, Kimhi, and others and their words come alive and give us a chance to compare and contrast commentaries. I had a good look through Genesis last night before I shelved the book for now because I want to use it as we move through the Torah. In just another couple of weeks, we will start reading the Torah all over again. The beauty of this commentary is that medieval Bible commentators come alive in a contemporary English translation annotated for lay readers.

Each page in The Commentators’ Bible: Genesis: The Rubin JPS Miqra’ot Gedolot contains from one to several verses from the book of Genesis, surrounded by both the 1917 and the 1985 JPS translations and by new contemporary English translations of the major commentators. Also included is a glossary of terms, a list of names used in the text, notes on source texts, a special topics list, and resources for further study. This is in large-format volume and is designed for easy navigation among the many elements on each page, including explanatory notes and selected additional comments from the works of Bekhor Shor, Sforno, Gersonides, and Hizkuni, among others.

I have found the “The JPS Commentators’ Bible” to be the most looked at book in my library and it is one of the most useful resources I have ever owned. I no longer have to run to the library to see if they have the commentary that I want to use, the one that “”opens the door to the wisdom of the classic commentators to Jewish students of all levels of Hebrew fluency. The translations are uniformly fluid and accessible, and this a wonderful invitation to join the traditional Torah commentary and interpretation. Each page is “set up as a conversation among the commentators, in which the reader is encouraged to join.”

Leave a Reply