Esther: A Modern Commentary (English and Hebrew Edition)

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9780807411391: Esther: A Modern Commentary (English and Hebrew Edition)
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Formerly a URJ Press title.

More than the centerpiece of Purim celebrations, the book of Esther is unique in the biblical canon, and raises as many questions as it answers. A rich source for text study, at Purim and throughout the year, this combination of traditional rabbinic views and contemporary criticism creates a readable and relevant commentary.

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About the Author:

Kerry M. Olitzky, D.H.L., is the executive director of the Jewish Outreach Institute. Dr. Olitzky was ordained a rabbi by Hebrew Union College– Jewish Institute of Religion, where he served the faculty and administration for fifteen years.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The Song of Songs, known in Hebrew as Shir HaShirim gained importance as a sacred text because of its various interpretations rather than its plain meaning. The book is a collection of erotic love poetry whose sexual images are somewhat softened only by the amount of time that has passed between the compilation of the book and our day. It is a dialogue between two lovers that is marked by love songs, poetic dialogues, and monologues. Some just call it a love poem—or a series of love poems—that champions the physical expression of that love. The lovers who are the main characters in this book express their physical yearnings in frank terms and graphic sexual images, even as they communicate their more profound and enduring love for one another. Their love deepens their appreciation for the beautiful landscape that provides a context for their relationship and is, as well, exquisitely described. As a result, some of the most exceptional poetry in the Bible is contained in the Song of Songs. The transformation from love poetry to Holy Scripture (Kitvei HaKodesh) reflects both cultural development and a concomitant shifting of values.

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