The Jewish Book of Why: The Torah

The Jewish Book of Why: The Torah
Alfred J. Kolatch
432 pages ~ 5 1/2 X 8 1/2
List Price $24.95
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About the Book

The Torah, the first five books of the Bible, is the moral guide of the Jewish people and the centerpiece of its religious life. For centuries, the teachings (Torah means "teaching") contained in this sacred 3,500-year-old document have been read aloud in the synagogue and studied privately by those seeking to extract from it meaningful life lessons.

Maintaining the sanctity of the Torah scroll is of high priority in Jewish tradition, and to achieve that end many laws have been introduced and customs established. In addition, numerous requirements relating to the writing of the Torah scroll and the reading of the scroll in the synagogue have evolved over time.

Following the "why" format he introduced in The Jewish Book of Why, in this volume Rabbi Alfred J. Kolatch addresses hundreds of questions about the Torah rites and rituals that are followed today. He also traces the origins of the Torah and explains the different methods of interpretation and analysis that are used in its study.

From why Mount Sinai was chosen as the site of the Revelation, to why a Torah scroll must be written on parchment with a quill, to why non-Jews are permitted to handle a Torah scroll, Rabbi Kolatch explores a wide range of fascinating issues simply, concisely, and straightforwardly. As in his other best-selling books, he makes the information both crystal clear for the layman and reflective of the attitudes and practices of Jews of all denominations. This title was previously issued as This Is the Torah.

"Popular in its orientation, This Is the Torah uses a question-and-answer format to address over 500 questions frequently asked about the most sacred Jewish text . . . Authoritative . . . excellent."
-- Library Journal

"A winner! Concise, clearly written, comprehensive and authoritatively (but not intimidatingly) documented, This Is the Torah seems an immediate classic. It is destined to be referred to in countless homes and libraries for years to come."
--Canadian Jewish News

"A fine piece of work. An immeasurable contribution to Judaic literature."
--Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof

"A learned but popular introduction to virtually everything worth knowing about the reading and writing of a Torah scroll . . . Enjoy an exhilarating experience of Torah study in the comfort of your own home. You could scarcely do better than to read Rabbi Kolatch's masterful book."
--Rabbi Robert Pilavin

"Extremely interesting and instructive."
--Professor Harry Orlinsky

About the Author

Alfred J. Kolatch, a graduate of the Teachers' Institute of Yeshiva University and its College of Liberal Arts, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, which subsequently awarded him the Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa . From 1941 to 1948 he served as rabbi of congregations in Columbia, South Carolina, and Kew Gardens, New York, and as a chaplain in the United States Army. In 1948 he founded Jonathan David Publishers, of which he has since been president and editor-in-chief.

Rabbi Kolatch has authored numerous books, the most popular of which are Great Jewish Quotations, How to Live a Jewish Life, What Jews Say About God, and the best-selling Jewish Book of Why and its sequel, The Second Jewish Book of Why. Several of his works deal with nomenclature, about which he is an acknowledged authority. The New Name Dictionary and The Complete Dictionary of English and Hebrew First Names are his most recent works on the subject. Other books by the author include Our Religion: The Torah, The Jewish Heritage Quiz Book, The Jewish Mourner's Book of Why, Who's Who in the Talmud, and The Family Seder.

In addition to his scholarly work, Rabbi Kolatch is interested in the work of the military chaplaincy and has served as president of the Association of Jewish Chaplains of the Armed Forces and as vice-president of the interdenominational Military Chaplains Association of the United States.