Tag Archives: Bible

Peshat and Derash

Jews study the Tanakh (Bible) on multiple levels: The two basic levels of Tanakh study are termed peshat and derash.

The first is the פְּשָׁט‎ “peshat”, taking the story of the text at face value. It should not be translated as “literally”, as the peshat level of analysis takes into account idioms, metaphors, personification, etc. The peshat is the message that the original author intended to get across to the original audience.

The second level is the distinctively Jewish דְּרַשׁ “derash” method: the way that Ḥazal (חז”ל‎‎) – the rabbis of the Mishnah, Midrash and Talmuds – interpreted the text: In derash we ask why the text is phrased the way that it is: we uses rabbinical literary techniques to plumb the depths of the text to find new meaning, or bring out connections and lessons that may not have been intended by the original authors. Sometimes the results are imaginative, and not the meaning intended by the original author. Indeed, some parts of the midrash literature are clear that the authors knew this. They were teaching lessons and writing Biblical homilies.

In the Mishnah and Talmud itself, some discussions show that rabbis felt that the derash was the original meaning of the text, while other discussions clearly understood the derash as filling-in-the-blanks, and creating meaning, laws and structure.

Even during the medieval era both schools of thought continued: Some meforshim (classical Bible commentators) such as Rashi, often accepted the derash as literally and historically true, while others (Rashbam, Ibn Ezra) felt otherwise.

Conflating the derash with the peshat later became a defining characteristic of more fundamentalist versions of rabbinic Judaism. Understanding that they are not identical became characteristic of non-fundamentalist versions of rabbinic Judaism.

Ari Marcelo Solon writes “Rashi’s grandson, Rashbam (R. Samuel ben Meir) clearly
distinguished between peshat and derash. His terminology relating to the peshat category is well-defined. Rashbam consistently interpreted in accordance with the peshat method; that is to say, he limited himself to the text itself, interpreting it according to its vocabulary, syntax and context, in relation to biblical parallels, according to common sense as well as derekh eretz (what is customary). Unlike Rashi, Rashbam did
not integrate biblical text and Midrash. It was Rashi who paved the way towards a clear distinction between peshat and derash in the writings of his successors. Yet in his commentaries, such a distinction still remains unrevealed.”

Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) may deny that there is any difference between peshat and derash, and they characterically teach that we are obligated to accept the derash as if it is the literal, original and only interpretation of the Bible. They may refer to any other approach as heretical.

In contrast, rabbis who appreciate great medieval Bible commentators such as Ibn Ezra and Rashbam, or who follow philosophical rationalism, often have exactly the opposite approach: Such rabbis are found within much of Modern Orthodoxy and non-Orthodox Judaism.

Modern Orthodox Rabbi Shalom Carmy (Yeshiva University) explains the difference between peshat and derash like this

1. Peshat–what text meant for first generation audience. Derash- what it may mean in retrospect. (Rabbi D.Z. Hoffmann says this).
2. Peshat– what’s in the lines; Derash- what’s hinted at between the lines, OR
2′. Peshat–what’s in the text; Drash- “filling in gaps” of what’s not explicit in text.

The relations between these levels is complicated & function differently in Halakhic and narrative contexts.
There are also ambiguities–what’s written in the first chapter of a book often has one meaning when you read the book the first time and another meaning when you get to the end. Likewise what a pasuk means in Shemot may appear different after you have reached Dvarim.


Correctly Construing Biblical Verses Upon which Halakhot Claim to be Based, Professor Rabbi Marty Lockshin

Ibn Ezra vs. Rashbam –  Can The Torah Contradict  Halacha (Jewish Law)?


Does Halakha Uproot Scripture? Prof. Rabbi Marty Lockshin

Peshat and Derash: Plain and Applied Meaning in Rabbinic Exegesis” by Rav Prof. David Weiss Halivni (Oxford U. Press 1991)

The Religious Significance of the Peshat, Uriel Simon. Tradition 23 (2), Winter 1988 also here at http://www.lookstein.org/articles/simon_peshat.htm

Book: Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra: Studies in the Writings of a Twelfth-Century Jewish Polymath, Edited by Isadore Twersky and Jay M. Harris. Chapter Abraham Ibn Ezra as an Exegete, by Nahum M. Sarna

What do we do when a verse in the Torah says one thing but halakha, Jewish law, attributes a very different meaning to it? Some people engage in fundamentalist wordplay to conclude that there’s no difference between the peshat of the Torah, and Halakhah. But such differences exist; Even the Talmud notes this:

In the nineteenth century, Samuel David Luzzatto (Shadal; 1800-1865) developed a new way of solving the peshat-halakha dilemma, suggesting that midrash halakha (rabbinic interpretation of biblical legal texts) often represents rabbinic legislation, and NOT biblical commentary. He makes his clearest and most detailed statement on the topic in his commentary on Parashat Tzav…. Shadal’s approach to the peshat–derash issue is novel and simple: Whenever the peshat says one thing and the midrash says something very different, Shadal says that the peshat is what the Torah means and the midrash represents rabbinic legislation, not biblical interpretation…. From a halachic point of view, this approach may be problematic: these laws that were connected to biblical verses by means of a derashah were standardly considered by the rabbis to be of Torah, not rabbinic, origin (דאורייתא, not דרבנן), as Shadal’s approach apparently implies. Remarkably, for Shadal, the classical rabbis were religious reformers who changed the laws of the Torah, making them less stringent. Shadal lived in the early days of Reform Judaism and took issue with its innovations. Accordingly, he takes pains to distinguish the motivations of the classical rabbis from what he understood to be the motivations of his more liberal contemporaries [Classic German Reform Judaism]

Peshat vs. Halakha Dilemma: Shadal and Tradition

Oral law

The Written law [Tanakh] makes it clear that it was being transmitted side by side with an oral tradition. Many terms and definitions used in the written law are undefined. Many fundamental concepts such as shekhita (slaughtering of animals in a kosher fashion), divorce and the rights of the firstborn are all assumed as common knowledge by text, and are not elaborated upon. The Oral Law, then, is a legal commentary on the Torah, explaining how its commandments are to be carried out. – Wikipedia, Oral Torah

Pages of Talmud

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin writes:

Common sense suggests that some sort of oral tradition was always needed to accompany the Written Law, because the Torah alone is an insufficient guide to carrying out the laws in practice. For example, the fourth of the Ten Commandments, ordains, “Remember the Sabbath day to make it holy” (Exodus 20:8). From the Sabbath’s inclusion in the Ten Commandments, it is clear that the Torah regards it as an important holiday. Yet when one looks for the specific biblical laws regulating how to observe the day, one finds only injunctions against lighting a fire, going away from one’s dwelling, cutting down a tree, and plowing and harvesting. Would merely refraining from these few activities fulfill the biblical command to make the Sabbath holy? Indeed, the Sabbath rituals that are most commonly associated with holiness – lighting of candles, reciting the kiddush, and the reading of the weekly Torah portion – are found not in the Torah, but in the Oral Law.

The Torah also is silent on many important subjects. The Torah has nothing to say concerning a marriage ceremony. To be sure, the Torah presumes that people will get married “Therefore shall a man leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24) – but nowhere in the Torah is a marriage ceremony recorded. Only in the Oral Law do we find details on how to perform a Jewish wedding. {Telushkin}

Without an oral tradition, many of the Torah’s laws would be incomprehensible. In Deuteronomy, the Bible instructs: “And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes” (see Deuteronomy 6:4).

“Bind them for a sign upon your hand,” the last verse instructs. Bind what? The Torah doesn’t say. “And they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.” What are frontlets? The Hebrew word for frontlets, totafot is used three times in the Torah – always in this context (Exodus 13:16; Deuteronomy 6:8, 11:18) and is as obscure as is the English. Only in the Oral Law do we learn that what a Jewish male should bind – tefillin.

Despite its name, the Oral Law today is a written law, codified in law collections known as the Mishna and the two Talmuds. It used to be passed along orally, but after many centuries it was finally written down so that information wouldn’t be lost.

Strangely enough, the Oral Law today is a written law, codified in the Mishna and Talmud. Orthodox Judaism believes that most of the oral traditions recorded in these books dates back to God’s revelation to Moses on Mount Sinai. When God gave Moses the Torah, Orthodoxy teaches, He simultaneously provided him all the details found in the Oral Law. It is believed that Moses subsequently transmitted that Oral Law to his successor, Joshua, who transmitted it to his successor, in a chain that is still being carried on (Ethics of the Fathers 1:1).

Given this chain of authority, one might wonder why the Mishna and Talmud are filled with strong debates between rabbis,who have very different understandings of what the law shoud be. Shouldn’t they have all been recipients of the same, unambiguous tradition Orthodox teachers respond that the debates came about either because students forgot some of the details transmitted by their teachers, or because the Oral Law lacks specific teachings on the issue being discussed.

– Joseph Telushkin. Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History. William Morrow and Co.

Rebecca and Isaac

D’var Torah by guest author Rebecca! Temple Beth Abraham Hebrew School, Kitah Dalet student

Today, everyone is a hero. Doctors, teachers, scientists, police officers, and firefighters no matter what gender. In the bible heroes are soldiers, kings, leaders, and prophets (people who speak to God.) They are mostly men. But in the story of Rebecca and Isaac, Rebecca – or Rivkah – is the hero and the prophet.

Eliezer and Rebekah at the Well by Gustave Doré

Eliezer and Rebekah at the Well by Gustave Doré

In the story, Abraham’s wife Sarah dies, he realizes he won’t be long after her. So he sends one of his most trusted servants to go to Nahor, his birth place, to find Isaac a wife. Once there the servant goes to a well where women are collecting water. He asks God for a sign that a woman will give him water, and that she will be Isaac’s wife. When Rivkah comes over, she gives him water after him asking, and offers to give the camels water too. That is when the servant knows that she is the one.

God is telling Rivkah to act kind. After Rivkah and Isaac are married, Rivkah comforts Isaac over his mother’s death. Rivkah’s name means to tie or to bind. Like healing someone.She is a shepherd, a loyal wife, and is very kind. Rivkah and all the other women prophets, Sarah,Leah, and Rachel, are all true bible heroes.

Though as they grew older they had two kids, Jacob and Esau. Rivkah loved Jacob, for when she heard his voice the more she loved him. He would stay at home with her all day long. But, Isaac loved Esau more for he provided viands – choice cuts of meat. Esau was stronger than his brother and hunted, while Jacob was more of a studier. (1)

Later as Isaac was dying, he told Esau to prepare him a venison dish and that then he would bless him afterwards . Rivkah overheard Isaac talking and because of her strong love for Jacob said. “ Go get some goat skin and I will prepare the dish.” Jacob did as he was told, and Rivkah put the goat skin on jacob’s arms so his would feel as his brothers hairy arms. Fooled, Isaac blessed Jacob instead of Esau. (2)

(1) The Book of Legends: Sefer Ha-Aggadah, Ed. Hayim Nahman Bialik and Yohoshua Hana Rivitzky, Trans William Braude, Schocken Books, NY, 1992, p.43

(2) The Illustrated Jewish Bible for Children, Hastings, Thomas and Burch, DK Publishing, 1994

Alternative to Rashi Fundamentalism

Who Needs a New Torah Commentary?

Some are content to study Torah with only medieval commentary, but I felt it was time for a modern update.

By Richard Elliott Friedman

Who Needs a New Torah Commentary? – Richard E. Friedman

The first book to be printed on the printing press in Hebrew was not the Bible. It was the Torah with commentary of Rashi, the pre-eminent exegete. Why? Because the Torah is not to be read. It is to be studied. And at various times during one’s studies, one needs a teacher. Studying the Torah with Rashi’s commentaries is a joy because he shows what questions one can ask of a text. Look here! Is this a contradiction? Look here! This can have two opposite meanings. Which is right? Why does the Torah not tell us this piece of information that we need to understand the text? Why does it give us this fact that seems to be of no significance at first glance?

Rashi wrote his commentary 900 years ago. Commentaries for laypersons in recent times have changed. They have been written as introductory notes to help explain the text. They often collect comments from scholars of the past and from current biblical scholars. This is different from what commentary means classically. The purpose of Rashi’s commentary and of Ibn Ezra’s and Ramban’s was to show the readers new things in the text, problems they had not seen, or to address old problems that had not yet been solved–and then to offer the commentator’s solutions to these problems.

…. Through the archaeological revolution of the last two centuries, we have new knowledge of the biblical world, both of Israel and its neighbors. We know the languages that they spoke and wrote in addition to Hebrew and Aramaic: Akkadian, Caananite (Ugaritic, Phoenician, Moabite), Egyptian, and Summerian. We have hundreds of sites and tens of thousands of ancient texts.

We have manuscripts of the Torah and of the entire Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, from Qumran (the Dead Sea Scrolls) that are a thousand years older than those Rashi had. We have use of the Greek version (the Septuagint), which, together with the Qumran texts, gives us more precise knowledge of the original text.

And we have the great commentators themselves. Their thinking and their conclusions are our starting point, already at our fingertips, enabling us to learn from them and then to go farther. And we have the work of great scholars of more recent times as well.

There has developed a kind of Rashi fundamentalism in recent years. Especially in Orthodox communities, it is practically heresy to question whether Rashi was ever wrong.

I think that Rashi himself might have been disappointed that it would come to that. The commentators who immediately followed him–Ibn Ezra and Ramban and Rashi’s grandson Rashbam–knew better. They expressed respect for Rashi, but they disagreed with him and offered alternatives to his comments. Rashi’s commentary served for nearly a millennium. There is still much that is useful in it, and it can be valuable for millennia to come. But we also need new commentary for the coming generations, in the light of a world of knowledge and new questions and new needs.

What Rashi and the other commentators taught us to do was to look at a text critically. They were teaching us to do philology: the art of reading well. Reading with care. Thinking about what the words mean. It is thus ironic that some people have become Rashi fundamentalists. They have learned not to read the Torah critically but to parrot the critical reading of Rashi. And they do not read Rashi critically.

Although Ibn Ezra and Ramban questioned Rashi and pointed our where they thought he was wrong, more recent generations of teachers have lost faith in their own knowledge and judgement, and so they risk failing to relate the Torah to the lives of their people.

But something has happened in the present generation. There have been great scholars, and they have acquired new sources of information: archaeology, knowledge of the ancient Near East, literary sensitivity, and knowledge of the social sciences. And so it is time for new commentaries–not to replace the classical commentators, but to join them.

My commentary is meant to do just that: to be in the tradition of the classical commentaries but to use this new learning. There are many volumes of such new commentary, but they are mainly on single books of the Bible, sometimes gathered in collections of volumes on the Torah or on the whole Bible. There have been few that follow the tradition of being a single scholar’s commentary on the Torah as a whole. Some take the form of introductory footnotes on a translation. I mean to do the opposite: precisely to show how united and connected the whole Torah is, and to try, like the commentators who are our starting point, to relate it to life….


Meforshim is a Hebrew word meaning “(Bible) commentators” (or roughly meaning “exegetes”), Perushim means “(Bible) commentaries”. These terms refer to commentaries on the Torah (five books of Moses), Tanakh, Mishnah, Talmud, the responsa literature, or even the siddur (Jewish prayerbook), and more.

Classic Torah and/or Talmud commentaries have been written by the following individuals:


What is wrong with ArtScroll? Review of Isaiah The Milstein Edition Later Prophets

What is wrong with ArtScroll?

Review of “The Milstein Edition Later Prophets: Isaiah” by Rabbi Nosson Scherman, Mesorah Publications (“ArtScroll”), 2013

Written by Eliezer Miller

Wrong With ArtScroll on the Seforim Blog

The latest work produced by ArtScroll in the Milstein Series is Isaiah [1]. Written by Rabbi Nosson Scherman, the general editor of ArtScroll himself, it is the inaugural volume of the interpretation of the Later Prophets.

Firstly, one could praise ArtScroll for a completely new typesetting of the Rashi, Radak, Metzuadas David and Metzudas Zion. However, if the idea was to give us a clear text, Keter has already done a clearly superior work of this kind. They, at least, edited these works by using ancient manuscripts.

Are they included to keep the tradition of Mikraos Gedolos? If so why are many other parts of Mikraos Gedolos commentators like Gr’a and Toldos Aharon missing? The space taken by these commentaries could have surely been used for a lengthier, more comprehensive, English commentary.

Secondly, one can understand why the editors ignored the extensive archaeological work that has been done in the past few years. Archaeology in the City of David and Samaria shed much light on the realia that is part of the prophecy [2].

The discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls has changed the whole of the study of Isaiah. The Isaiah scrolls are the only complete text of a sefer in Tanach from that time. They have revealed multiple variants and commentaries.

One understands, but does not condone, that to include these studies in the sefer would have negated the principles on which “Mesorah” publication stands. It seeks to keep strict adherence to the received traditions.

Similarly, the incredible amount that has been learnt from etymological studies by Semitic language scholars is hard to ignore. Because non-traditional scholars do this work, they are ignored by Rabbi Scherman – to his, and to his readers, loss.

Thirdly, one could also tolerate the “bowdlerization”[3] involved in the ArtScroll translation. The great poetic masterpiece that was achieved by the Revised Authorized Version has inspired myriads of readers. The majestic language offers faint echoes of Isaiah’s monumental use of imagery and metaphors. Unfortunately the translation has Christological inferences and counter-Halachic tendencies.[4] Their exclusion is understandable. On the other hand, Artscroll’s awkward phraseology, mistranslations, and incorrect insertions make one, literally, cringe. Their translation has managed to change one the worlds greatest literary work into a children’s eighth-grade reader, unworthy of the text.

Lastly, one must feel that Rabbi Scherman is forced to ignore the obvious parallels to the rebuilding of Zion in our days. The Return to Israel, the re-establishment of the State of Israel and the foretold “footsteps of the Messiah” are apparent to any reader of the prophecy. This omission is so enormous, that it is difficult for the modern reader to swallow. Has the Orthodox world been so influenced by the rejectionist in the Satmar- Neture Karta – Brisk axis, that they have accepted the absurd notion that that the State of Israel has no theological significance?

But these are not the real problems. The real problem of this work is that it contradicts the very basis of the credo of Mesorah Publications. There are a number of examples as how Mesorah publications have disregarded their own mandate.

1) The Prophecy of Isaiah was a focal point in the Talmud and Midrash. There is hardly a Pasuk that is not quoted and explicated in the classical sources. One would venture to say, that percentage wise, many more pasukim from Isaiah are mentioned in the Talmud and Medrash than are pasukim from Chumash [5]. Indeed works that cite these sources are widely available. [6] Yet these citations
are few and far between in Rabbi Sherman’s commentary [7]. When they are cited, the accompanying commentaries by the Rishonim are rarely mentioned.

This lacuna is distressing. Did Rabbi Scherman not make an effort to use them, or was he oblivious to their existence?[8]

2) There are comparatively few extant works by the Rishonim on Isaiah. One would suppose that the Christian censors either cut them severely [9] or discouraged their publication. However, a few such works have been found and
published. [10] In these sefarim are important ideas that have not found their way into ArtScroll, once again to its, and our loss. [11]

3) The truth that even a casual reader will note that there are at least two different styles of commentaries of Isaiah in this work. The first 40 or so chapters were written in one style, and the last chapters by a different commentator. (Perhaps the same author wrote them at different times of his life.)

The first Chapters are basically a summary of the classical commentators. These summaries are widely available[12], albeit in Hebrew [13]. One wonders why Rabbi Scherman ignored Rav Eliezer MiBalgantzi, Rabbi Yishaya Mitrani,
Ibn Kaspi and Ayin Hamesorah (published from manuscripts in Keter).

Remarkably, the style of commentaries in the second part of the Sefer are completely different. No longer only the classical commentaries are mentioned. Mari K’ra, Orchos Chaim, Shem Shmuel, Artscroll’s own edition of Rav Schwab, and many other commentaries suddenly make an appearance. Rabinowitz masterful Daas Sofrim [14] and Hirsch’s Essays are mentioned. Rav Schwab’s, somewhat idiocentric ideas are often quoted.[15]

Strongly, Sorotzkin’s Rinat Yitchak [16] and Rav Dovid Cohen’s many works  [17] are ignored. One understands (but does not condone) the omission of Mossad Harav Kook’s Daas Mikra [18] because of its “modern” leaning, but what could be wrong with Hatorah Hatemimah [19]? Emek Hanetziv is Kosher (pg. 385) but the G’ra does not make the cut [20]! Additionally there are many commentaries of the Haftorahs, which are similarly ignored [21]

4) Perhaps the most important criticism is that this work is below Artscroll standards. In the Schottensten Talmud, (especially the Jerusalem Talmud) Artscroll has shown that they are able to do extensive research, and to explicate almost all fundamentals [22]. Rav Eisemann’s Ezekiel is a masterful work.

In the Artscroll Isaiah there is little attempt to explain the fundamental concepts of Judaism. Instead we are fed homilies, “Vortlach”, Hassidic Meiselach and childish moralisms. We miss the scholarly discussions, the Machlokes and textual variations that are so beautifully presented in the Schottenstein Talmud.

Yishayahu [Isaiah] speaks to the generations. To portray him as a medieval sermonizer is, to sat the least, disrespectful and trite. The Milstein Series could, and must, do a better job. They owe this to modern reader.

[1] The Later Prophets: Isaiah, Mesorah Publications 2013

[2] We can see the upper pool and the lower pool, etc.

[3] To modify by abridging, simplifying, or distorting in style or content

[4] “Unto us a child is given.”Etc.

[5] In an unscientific count in Ayn Hamesorah, about 30% of Chumash pasukim are cited compared to 98% of Isaiah’s pasukim.

[6] Stern, Menachem: Torah SheB’al Peh, Jerusalem 2001. Neusner, Jacob: Isaiah in The Babylonian Talmud and Medrash, NY 2007.

[7] A cursory reading counts only a few dozen citations.

[8] A few random examples:

i) 42:5 ….Who gives a soul to the people upon it, and a spirit to those who walk upon it

Artscroll pg. 323: He gives a soul equally to all the people on earth (Radak)

A spirit of sanctity (or prophecy- Abarbanel) to those who walk in his ways.

Yet: Talmud Yerushalmi [8]: Rashbal in the name of Bar Kapra: The land on which I placed life first, will be the first for the coming of the Messiah. What is the reason “He gives a soul to the people upon it. Thus the Rabbis of Babylon have lost. Rabbi Simai said: The Almighty makes the land slippery in front of them and thus they slide like bottles. When they reach the land of Israel their souls are with them….

ii) 27:13 ….It shall be on that day a great shofar will be blown…

Artscroll pg. 209: On that great day of ingathering, all the exiles will be gathered together (as if –Radak) by the blast of a great shofar Abarbanel, R’ Hirsch

Yet: Talmud  [8]: The ten tribes have no place in the world to come… these are the words of Rabbi Akiva. …Rabbi Simon said: if their actions are (still) like today, they will not return. If not, they will return. Rebbi said: They will come to the world to come as it said “On that day a great shofar will be sounded”.

(One feels that these random examples, among many, are teaching fundamentals of Jewish thought. Why were they not mentioned? In their place Artscroll quotes two Chassidic Vortlach!)

[9] See Neubauer’s edition of the ‘hine yaskil avdi”

[10] Kovetz Perushim Lesefer Yishayahu, Jerusalem 5731. Tafsir Saadia Gaon, S. Ratzabi Bnei Brak 2004

[11] A few random examples;

i) On that day (people) will sing about (Israel), “A vineyard of fine wine”. I am Hashem who guards it: I water it frequently, lest it be held account against it, night and day I will guard it.

Artscroll pg.203: From the cup of punishment I shall pour on them only a little at a time, because if I were to deliver the full of retribution all at once, they would not survive it. (Rashi)

Yet: Ibn Ganach: It comes to tell us that Israel will not be included in the punishment, that is to say; I will revisit their sins on the nations, but I will not revisit (Israel’s) sin

ii) 52:2 Formerly he grew like a sapling ….

Artscroll (pg. 401): Before the redemption raises Israel to its new eminence, the nations will regard it with contempt…

Yet: Rambam: The quality of the ascent (of the Messiah) is that not that we will know at all before his ascent whether he is or not the Messiah, even if it is said of him that he is the son of so-and-so from so-and-so’s family. Rather an unknown man shall rise before his identity is revealed, with signs and miracles, which we will see that it is he that performs them. This will prove the truth of his claims and the truth of his patrimony. (Again one feels that these are basic to our beliefs, and are puzzled by their omission.)

[12] Laniado Shlomo: Keli Paz, , 1637, Reprinted Jerusalem 5731

[13] An adequate work by Rosenberg, A. J.: Mikraos Gedolos, The Judaica Press, 1992 has long been available

[14] Rabinowitz, Chaim Dov, Daas Sofrim, Jerusalem 1980

[15] Rinat Yitzchak, Yitzchak Sorotzkin, Wikliff 1998

[16] Rinat Yitzchak, Yitzchak Sorotzkin, Wikliff 1998

[17] Cohen, David: Ohel David, 1998 –

[18] Chacham, Amos: Daat Mikra, Jerusalem 1988

[19] Stern, Yechiel Michal: Hatorah Hatemimah, Jerusalem 5732

[20] Katzenelenbogen, S.. Biur Hagr’a Neviim, Jerusalem 2002

[21] A few random examples:

i) 41:2 Who inspired (the one) from the East, at whose (every) footstep righteousness attended….

Artscroll pg.311: This is a reference to Abraham, who came from Aram, which is east of Eretz Israel…

Yet Rinat Yitzchak [21] explains this verse as the dispute between Rashi and the Gr’a. In Shabbat 156a uses this verse to prove that there is no Mazal (Astrology) for Israel. Rashi explains that prayer and repentance can change the mazal. The G’ra explains that Mazal only applies to the nations, whereas Israel is above the stars and independent of Mazal.

ii) 28:7 …the kohen and the (false) prophet have erred because of liquor and corrupted by wine, they have strayed because of liquor, erred in vision.

Artscroll pg. 211: Rather than refer to the drunkenness and hedonism of the people, Isaiah refers to the drunkenness and the hedonism of the leadership, the Kohen and the prophet.

Yet: Rabinowiz [21]: To claim that this refers to the Kohanim [High priests] in the Beis HaMikdash [Temple in Jerusalem] and to the prophets, contradicts all accepted opinions. …. Nowhere does Isaiah mention false prophets, for no one would dare to call himself a prophet in the days of Isaiah…. It is unlikely that Isaiah would refer to the priests of Baal as Kohanim. It is certain that Isaiah was referring to himself. He was not able to communicate with people that were immersed in wealth and success, indulging in feasts and parties. It is unlikely that he speaks of gross drunkenness.

[22] See however: Our Torah, your Torah and their Torah: An evaluation of the Artscroll phenomenon by B. Barry Levy and Tradition 19(1) (Spring 1981): 89-95 and an exchange of letters in Tradition 1982; 20:370-375.