Redeeming Relevance in the Book of Exodus: Explorations in Text and Meaning

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9789655240375: Redeeming Relevance in the Book of Exodus: Explorations in Text and Meaning

Is there nothing new to learn from reading the Book of Exodus again? Must all attempts at finding relevant meaning for today wallow in superficiality and flightiness? As he did with the Book of Genesis, veteran educator and Bible teacher Rabbi Francis Nataf shows us that careful and creative analysis of the text can still reap completely new and provocative insights geared to the intelligent modern reader. In a series of sophisticated yet readable essays, Rabbi Nataf uses his literary awareness and profound knowledge of text, Midrash and commentaries to come up with refreshingly original readings of some of the major stories in Exodus. The centrality of exile and alienation, national memory, the significance of clothing and how to relate to the other are only some of the topics that he discusses via the Biblical text's treatment of Moshe, Moshe's family and the Jewish nation as a whole. A must-read for anyone looking to appreciate how we should study Exodus in our time.

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About the Author:

Rabbi Francis Nataf is the Educational Director of the David Cardozo Academy in Jerusalem and the author of Redeeming Relevance in the Book of Genesis (Urim, 2006). He has also published numerous articles concerning Jewish education, Bible and Jewish thought. Rabbi Nataf was ordained at Yeshiva University and holds degrees in Jewish history and international affairs.

Review:

Rabbi Francis Nataf has once again provided us with penetrating studies about the reality of human existence in the Torah and the great message and relevance of the Biblical stories in our day-to-day life....In his own unique style, [he] engages us with the words of the Divine text and the great Biblical figures...human beings who try to live in the presence of God. --Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Dean, David Cardozo Academy

Rabbi Francis Nataf is a leading educator who in all his writings has helped us deepen our engagement with the Divine text....His readings are insightful, nuanced, and pregnant with thought-provoking insights on the characters and heroes of the book of Exodus. Rabbi Nataf skillfully deploys a vast command of the exegetical work of the Jewish tradition as well as displays judicious use of the works of modern writers who have enriched our understanding of the Bible. This has been coupled with a close and careful reading of the Biblical text oriented to unlock the existential truths that emerge....I highly recommend this volume to all students of Torah, at all levels. --Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot, Chair, Departments of Bible and Jewish Thought, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School

Rabbi Nataf has...delivered a most eloquent traditional, yet modern Bible commentary, this time, to the ancient Exodus experience and Passover saga. He clearly defines and expounds upon the God-human communications relationship throughout, demonstrating this as an essential component to our very spiritual, as well as physical existence --Alan Jay Gerber, The Jewish Star (Long Island, NY)

'The second volume of Rabbi Francis Nataf's exploration of the Bible is filled with insights and is a fresh take on an ancient text. Perhaps more than any other text, the reader approaches the Bible with preconceived notions and assumptions carried from childhood, forcing us to read the Bible with decades of baggage. Nataf, on the other hand, does a commendable job of looking at the text anew and reads the text like the Commentators did, without commentaries, a strategy Nataf calls 'an invitation for a very personal involvement' (p. 14)... The bottom line is that Nataf's analysis is impressive and brings something new to Biblical scholarship...' --Aharon E. Wexler, Jewish Bible Quarterly

''The second volume of Rabbi Francis Nataf's exploration of the Bible is filled with insights and is a fresh take on an ancient text. Perhaps more than any other text, the reader approaches the Bible with preconceived notions and assumptions carried from childhood, forcing us to read the Bible with decades of baggage. Nataf, on the other hand, does a commendable job of looking at the text anew and reads the text like the Commentators did, without commentaries, a strategy Nataf calls 'an invitation for a very personal involvement' (p. 14)... The bottom line is that Nataf's analysis is impressive and brings something new to Biblical scholarship....'' ---Aharon E. Wexler, Jewish Bible Quarterly

Rabbi Nataf has...delivered a most eloquent traditional, yet modern Bible commentary, this time, to the ancient Exodus experience and Passover saga. He clearly defines and expounds upon the God-human communications relationship throughout, demonstrating this as an essential component to our very spiritual, as well as physical existence --Alan Jay Gerber, The Jewish Star (Long Island, NY)

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