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Synopsis

MAKE IT SHORT RABBI By Rabb Nathan M. Landman The Jewish religious tradition begins with the Bible and spans 4,000 years. How does one enter into dialogue with Judaism’s fundamental teachings directly, without being overwhelmed by its vast scope? That is the challenge that the author meets by introducing the reader to Jewish insights derived from examining specific Biblical verses, directly and succinctly, as a launching pad for acquiring basic familiarity with Judaism’s life-lessons. Citing over 120 Biblical sources, Rabbi Landman explores such issues as Creation versus Creationism, Sin and the sinner, a Jewish view of miracles, Satan In the Bible, the essentials of good leadership, the quest for the Promised Land,, the meaning of the “chosen people” and many other basic Jewish teachings. These basic Jewish lessons open the door to exploring the Jewish literary tradition comprising ancient Hebrew and Aramaic texts and an awesomely voluminous expansion in an oral tradition ultimately set down in the Mishnah, Midrash, and Talmud, and their commentaries. While initially attempting to enter into dialogue with that tradition can appear to be a daunting and intimidating task even for those exposed to an elementary Jewish education, what you will find here is a key to entering the dialogue so that you may engage specific biblical texts and come to grips with specific Jewish teachings and values suggested by them on a wide variety of living issues. Accordingly, the purpose of these Torah and Haftarah thoughts arranged according to the annual cycle of Sabbath scriptural readings in the synagogue is twofold: First, to draw attention to the “portion of the week” as a perennial source of Judaic spiritual values; and second, to concentrate on a particular verse from the reading as a means of providing Jewish insights for contemporary living. Hopefully, one encountering these texts for the first time, rather than being overwhelmed, will feel that he or she has gained an initial insight into Jewish perspectives and, at the same time, recognizes that the journey into Judaism requires a constantly expanding effort in study and reflection.

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