“The Steinsaltz Humash”, (Hebrew and English Edition) by Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz— A New Translation and Commentary

Steinsaltz, Adin Even-Israel. “The Steinsaltz Humash”, (Hebrew and English Edition), Koren, 2018.

A New Translation and Commentary

Amos Lassen

I would not consider myself to be a bible collector but I do have about 15 different editions of the Five Books of Moses and I use them all. We must remember that a translation is not just a translation; it is also a commentary. About twelve years ago I decided that I needed to study the holy writings more carefully and so I decided that I would devote an hour a day to study and that the majority of that study would be in the language of the Hebrew Bible. I could look at other translations after an initial reading but not before. It is here that the various translations become so helpful. For the last two days I used the Steinsaltz bible along side of the Stone translation just to see where they differed and on the portion that I concentrated upon, I did not find any great differences but I did see nuances that I might not have seen otherwise. Aside from that the Steinsaltz was a pleasure to use.

Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz is a pioneer in his work on translating the Talmud and it sees that we have been waiting for his work on the bible for a long time. Now that it is here, we see that it contains a wealth of material that aid in understanding the text as well as background information. There are references to many commentaries, Hebrew verses in clear Koren font, with vowels and punctuation, an English translation that reflects Rabbi Steinsaltz’s understanding of the text, portions are divided thematically with introductory explanations, color photos identify biblical objects and illustrate complicated concepts, notes and photos of modern archaeological and scientific findings, maps, illustrations, and charts to clarify locations and concepts and supplemental background materials with cross-references to the Torah. I see the aim of the Steinsaltz Humash to be to connect the reader to a simple reading of the text and than providing information for further study.

“This brand-new volume features several innovative elements including:

Hebrew verses in clear Koren font, with vowels and punctuation

Accessible English translation that reflects Rabbi Steinsaltz’s understanding of the text

Parshiyot divided thematically with introductory explanation

Color photos that identify biblical objects and illustrate complicated concepts

Notes and photos of modern archaeological and scientific findings

Maps, illustrations, and charts to clarify locations and concepts

Supplemental background materials, cross-references to the Torah”

I am really excited about this edition of the Five Books of Moses and the only negative I have to give it that it too heavy to take everywhere with me and this means that I will be spending a great deal of time at home.

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