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Synopsis

The traditional Jew has always accepted the study of Torah as central to his or her way of life. But without the ability to effectively analyze and interpret the text, one misses the opportunity to gain a deep and authentic appreciation of the Torah's beauty and profundity. In Studying the Torah: A Guide to In-Depth Interpretation, Avigdor Bonchek equips the reader with the proper analytic methods to make reading the Bible both a serious pursuit and a pleasurable pastime. In order for the reader of the Torah text to delve into its veiled, but ultimately visible, layered messages, he or she must first learn the appropriate interpretive techniques. These skills are the same as those used by the classic Jewish Torah commentators (Rashi, Ramban, Ibn Ezra, and others), all of whom were experts in what scholars today refer to as a "close reading" of the text. Among the "Keys to Interpretation" discussed in this book are the significance of word order, opening sentences, repetitions, word associations, psychological dimensions, and similarities and differences between texts. Each key is illustrated by several examples that offer fresh insight into otherwise familiar text, and the author offers his own original and comprehensive in-depth interpretation of two central biblical stories: the story of Joseph and the ten plagues.

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