Steinsaltz’s Book of Psalms

Rabbi Steinsaltz’s brief English introduction sets the tone for the entire book. In just four pages, he explains why the Psalms hold a universal appeal for mankind.

By ALAN ROSENBAUM
April 11, 2019 20:42
Steinsaltz’s Book of Psalms

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz meets with two students in his office. (photo credit: THE STEINSALTZ CENTER)

 
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Compact, elegant and eminently readable, the Steinsaltz Tehillim (Psalms) is the latest eponymous addition to the English-language library of Jewish classics published by the Steinsaltz Center and Koren Publishers. Smaller in size than volumes of the Steinsaltz Hebrew-English Talmud and Humash, the Steinsaltz Tehillim is light enough to be carried easily, but large enough to be read comfortably. While aficionados of Rabbi Steinsaltz’s previous books will undoubtedly snap up this book, will it appeal to the average reader who may not be familiar with Rabbi Steinsaltz’s works but is interested in understanding the Psalms on a basic level?

In a word, yes. Rabbi Steinsaltz’s brief English introduction sets the tone for the entire book. In just four pages, he explains why the Psalms hold a universal appeal for mankind. Throughout much of the Bible, he notes, the relationship between man and the Divine proceeds from God to man. Psalms, he writes, is unique among the books of the Bible, in that the relationship flows from man to God. The Hebrew title of the book “Tehillim” means “praises,” he explains – yet the Psalms are much more than a collection of praises of God. Ultimately, it is a type of conversation and dialogue between man and God.

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