Newly released for your learning pleasure this summer, and especially appropriate for the upcoming Three Weeks, is “The Spirit of Torah: Penetrating Insights into The Chumash,” by Aaron Muller, published by Mosaica Press.
One can describe this book as a work that will give you a cherished opportunity to connect the actual text with the commentaries of our religious spiritual thinkers. By this definition, Rabbi Muller succeeds in giving to us a clearly defined theological definition of thought coupled with relevant texts that should inspire you to further learning. But first, a little biographical background:
Rabbi Muller attended Yeshiva Mercaz HaTorah of Belle Harbor, New York as a student of Rav Levi Dicker, zt”l, and subsequently the Mir Yeshivah in Jerusalem. He currently resides with his family in Monsey and practices as a speech language pathologist. I personally came to know of him as the creator of one of the most effective Torah learning websites, Parshasheets.com, which aggregates hundreds of weekly divrei Torah from authors worldwide.
Rabbi Muller’s literary take on this work is reflected in an initial online interview and introduction to his work: “Besides relating ideas that can help inspire and stimulate spiritual growth, it is my intention to fill a gap found with many of the English divrei Torah books published today. With many of the writings now available on the parsha, authors will quote some of the earlier commentary on a pasuk, a verse, but seldom does the reader actually see the text which is being referenced.
While for some readers, references alone serve their purpose and are relied upon, for others, seeing the actual text may enhance and enrich the idea presented. The words of our Rishonim and Achronim were written with great measure and precision, worthy of each word being read and re-read. While translations are wonderful it is always at risk of losing an essential concept that the author really wishes to convey … This book is unique in that it attempts to introduce the reader to the Hebrew text with a full translation, instead of simply referencing the thought in abbreviated form.”
This fact alone makes The Spirit of Torah most worthy of your attention. Each parsha is given its intellectual due, speaking to the reader, not at the reader.
According to Rabbi Kleinman of the weekly Torah sheet “Timely Messages,” the book is valuable for another reason: “Another feature added to this work is a section titled ‘Biographical Sketches of Commentators’ for each commentary referenced, so that the reader has the ability to connect with the author and understand in which time period each of them lived, from where they originated; the town and city in which they served as a rav or leader, and a glimpse/snapshot of their lifespan.
“This is intended to assist readers to attach themselves to and develop a mental image of whom it is that they are reading about, thus making the divrei Torah more authentic, relatable, personable and alive.”
What a wonderful way to study the weekly parsha. Enjoy this work, and visit Rabbi Muller’s website, Parshasheets.com, for further spiritual enhancement.