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Redeeming Relevance in the Book of Leviticus

Explorations in Text and Meaning

By Rabbi Francis Nataf

The Jewish people has a rather peculiar relationship with the book of Leviticus. On the one hand, almost all serious Jews are aware that many of Judaism’s most important laws and ideas are to be found in the Torah’s middle book. Yet in spite of these highlights, Leviticus also contains material that the average reader will find less stimulating. Many of its laws are directed to the priestly elite in charge of the Temple service. 

But Rabbi Nataf tells us that the Torah’s middle book is actually also its most important. That is because the sons ofAharon and their descendants serve as a model for the entire Jewish people. Once we know what is expected from them, we can have a better idea of what is expected from us.

As illustrated in this volume of Redeeming Relevance, the central Torah principle encrypted in Leviticus is nothing less than a call for all Jews to do their utmost to help the rest of mankind. This is the center of the Torah; the rest is commentary.

About the Author:

Rabbi Francis Nataf is a Jerusalem-based educator and writer, well known for his ability to find creative and inspiring new ways of looking at Jewish texts and tradition. He is associate editor of The Jewish Bible Quarterly and has published dozens of articles in The Times of Israel, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Report, The Jewish Press, Tradition and many other publications. Rabbi Nataf is a noted speaker and has brought his out-of-the-box approach to audiences on four continents.

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~Review by Rabbi Aryeh Klapper, Dean, Center for Modern Torah Leadership
Francis Nataf overcomes ‘Vayikra Avoidance Syndrome’ with an ambitious set of essays that treat the book as a whole and justify its centrality in the Torah. He offers stimulating and sometimes provocative theses about the relationship between Kohanim and Israelites, Jews and gentiles, and flesh and blood. Redeeming Relevance in the Book of Leviticus is an important contribution and highly recommended to all who have struggled to find contemporary meaning in the Torah’s least accessible book. (Posted on 3/27/2019)
~Review by Kenneth R. Weinstein, Ph.D., President & CEO, Hudson Institute
Vayikra is the least accessible book of Torah because of its focus on Temple-era sacrifices and priestly ritual. But Rabbi Francis Nataf – whose Redeeming Relevance series includes must-read books on Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – lowers the barriers to understanding Leviticus, allowing a much deeper engagement through a close analysis that is enlightening for the general reader (such as myself) as well as the more learned. A major accomplishment. (Posted on 3/27/2019)
~Review by Eve Harow, Radio Talk Show Host
Rabbi Francis Nataf continues his wonderful contributions to Bible study with insights into Leviticus, whose myriad details are meant to ensure that there are no secrets in Jewish ritual. Kudos to a unique way of looking at the third book of the Torah. (Posted on 3/27/2019)

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Additional Info

Additional Info

ISBN 978-160-280-334-3
Pages 104
Format Hardcover
SKU urim1534
Publisher Urim Publications