Recalling the Covenant

recallingcovenantby Rabbi Louis A. Rieser

This thought-provoking commentary draws on classical Jewish sources as well as contemporary archaeological discoveries. Rabbi Moshe Shamah writes with a deep concern that readers understand the plain meaning of the text with all its associations and symbolic allusions. Shamah assumes that the Torah is divinely inspired. He also understands that the Torah addresses a sophisticated audience; his carefully considered, thorough commentary does the same.

Recalling the Covenant follows the schedule of weekly reading common in the synagogue, featuring several studies on each portion. Throughout, one is aware of the debt Shamah owes to his teacher, Rabbi Solomon D. Sassoon. In particular he references Sassoon’s theory on number symbolism in the Torah, a theory that often reveals interesting insights.

Shamah’s blend of traditional and modern sources yields insight and wisdom. He offers a panoramic understanding that leads the reader to a deeper appreciation of the text. Shamah’s commentary enriches the intellect and the soul.

This is not a book for a casual reader. It challenges us to meet the text anew and consider broader associations than initially meet the eye. Recalling the Covenant is a rewarding book that examines the Torah for its own message. Highly recommended.

This review first appeared in Congregational Libraries Today

A Review of Recalling the Covenant by Rabbi Moshe Shamah

by Daniel Scheiderecallingcovenant

Rabbi Shamah is a pulpit rabbi, day school principal and founder of the Sephardic Institute. This Torah commentary incorporates archeological and literary evidence of the ancient Near East along with traditional rabbinic texts in an effort to uncover the peshat (plain sense) of the Bible. Also included are essays on Ruth, Esther and Jonah as well as a bibliography, glossary and in-depth indices. A welcome addition to synagogue and school libraries of all denominations.

This review first appeared in the AJL newsletter.