929 is a Bible study program for Jews around the world – for those inside and outside of Israel; for Conservative, Orthodox, Reform or secular. It is named for the 929 chapters in the Tanakh/תַּנַ”ךְ (Hebrew Bible) – comprising the Torah, Prophets and Writings, from Genesis to Chronicles.
We read one chapter a day, five days a week. There are no readings on Friday and Saturday, when we study the week’s parashah/פָּרָשָׁה (Torah portion.)
929 is non-denominational. It creates a global Jewish conversation around issues that unite and divide us, but always anchored in or inspired by Tanakh. The website has creative readings and pluralistic interpretations, including audio and video, by a wide range of writers, artists, rabbis, educators, and more. Come join in the conversation!
Yair Rosenberg writes:
Drawing its name from the 929 chapters of the Hebrew Bible, the project aims to get hundreds of thousands of Israelis from all walks of life to complete the corpus over three-and-a-half years by covering five chapters a week. (The endeavor is akin to the Daf Yomi cycle, where participants finish the entire Talmud over seven-and-a-half years, but pitched to a broader and more diverse audience.)
The hub of the enterprise is its state-of-the-art website, where readers can find commentary from a wide array of contributors, from celebrated secular authors like Etgar Keret and A.B. Yehoshua, to spiritual leaders like ultra-Orthodox former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and progressive trailblazer Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum.
In addition, the site features explanatory videos and cultural artifacts—from comics to music clips—related to the weekly chapters and a detailed timeline allowing participants to track their progress; it can even read the Bible aloud to the visually impaired or those on the go. Finally, every piece of content is designed for easy sharing on a variety of social networks.
929 was announced by the Israeli Education Ministry, and began on December 21, 2014.
929 Tanakh B’Yakhad is now also available for English speakers
Setting aside time for daily Tanakh study is important. Rabbi Jerome M. Epstein, from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, writes that we should:
“put aside our excuses, foregoing the urge to claim that we do not have sufficient time. It is the rare individual who does not have 15 minutes each day to learn something new. As with everything else, we have to make choices. If we seriously want to enrich our Jewish lives and perpetuate our rich tradition, then we must choose to participate in projects such as this.”
Rabbi Epstein also writes:
Just as our ancestors read from the Tanakh each day, there are many reasons why we must do so as well.
First… to benefit from Jewish wisdom and guidance as contained in themitzvot interwoven into this timeless text. As Jews, we want to know God’s plan, which gives meaning to our lives.
The Tanakh is a tapestry containing the threads of God’s plan.
Second… to discern the midot, or values, that distinguish us as Jews. Jewish values are unique — but they are not transmitted genetically.
The Tanakh is the ultimate source of these values.
Third… to become familiar with the architects of our religion and the times in which they lived. We are who we are because of our history. The promise of Israel; the Exodus and the Temple; the Exile and the Prophets; all play a major role in defining Jews and Judaism.
The Tanakh makes it possible to “experience” our history.
Fourth… to be guided by the ethics and moral standards that challenge us to become God-like in our daily behavior. Jewish ethics are not time bound. They are Divinely inspired, but they are not inaccessible.
The Tanakh makes it possible to be touched by Divine inspiration.
Fifth… to become enriched by the pattern of Jewish living. While its seed was planted in Biblical times, Jewish living has evolved through the ages. Judaism as we live it and celebrate it today is the fruit of that seed.
The Tanakh is the primary source that stimulated Rabbis and Sages throughout the ages to envision Judaism for their own generation. The Tanakh is our Jewish birthright.
Finally… we must read the Tanakh so that we can be lifted from viewing the world as it is, to a perch where we can glimpse a vision of what we can help it to become. Through seeing the universe from the mountains on which Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Miriam, stood, and through feeling the passion of Esther, Ruth, David and Solomon, our lives take on a new and important meaning, a sense of purpose.
The Tanakh blends holiness and humanity. It challenges us to live our lives so that we will make a positive difference to others.
If you lack knowledge, what have you acquired? If you acquire knowledge, what do you lack?
Midrash Vayikra (Leviticus) Rabbah 1:6, Talmud Nedarim 41a