Kirkus Review: “This is not a simple retelling of Numbers but rather a Talmudic commentary of a high order based on artful Hebrew prose and poetry….Zornberg displays her own superior hermeneutic skills as she calls on the teachings of vaunted rabbinic authority, Midrashic tradition and the homilies of Hasidic masters…. A powerful, important textual deconstruction of the mystical fourth book of the Old Testament.”
“Zornberg’s grasp of the rabbinic interpretations of the text (as well as of Jewish philosophy generally) is masterful, and the meat of her work is in relating these interpretations to the spiritual and psychological questions, or bewilderments, evoked by the book of Numbers.” —Publishers Weekly
Jweekly, San Francisco: http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/74336/off-the-shelf-new-books-about-the-bible-worth-reading-more-than-once/ Review by Amos Lassen: http://reviewsbyamoslassen.com/?p=35380 Jerusalem Posthttp://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Book-Review-Performer-of-Torah-395995 Amazon Customer Reviews There are not many great commentaries on the Book of Numbers By Anglican Bishop Joel Marcus Johnson on March 2, 2015: There are not many great commentaries on the Book of Numbers, but now comes Avivah Gottleib Zornberg’s “Bewilderments: Reflections on the Book of Numbers” (Schocken 2015), hot off the press. I have long been an admirer of her work, first with “Genesis: The Beginning of Desire,” thence “The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus.” All three of these should grow to classic importance. I would assume at this point that she may be planning volumes on Leviticus and Deuteronomy, as well, giving us a full set of reflections on the entire Torah. More power to this marvelous literary commentator and philosopher. … But there is something new about this work, making it to stand out. She seems to me to have grown in literary dexterity, making this work far more accessible than those previous, even a joy to read. … First, buy “Bewilderments,” then go read the other two in reverse order, so as to receive the full Avivah impact. Second, I ask you, when was the last time you were jumping up and down to study Numbers? My answer is that you have never realized its historical and literary genius until you read Avivah.
Superb By Grant Barber I had feared that no more volumes by this superb author on the books of the Torah were forthcoming after those on Genesis and Exodus. One of those unexpected surprises that brightens up the day was to find this! Her mastery of her field might be rivaled by other Jewish scholars...I can barely keep up with my own Christian writers, let alone other faiths...but how could any surpass her? Edifying, insightful, encyclopedic...excellence and clarity.
See her BIO page above for a list of further publications.
New Photo courtesy of Joan Roth 2014
Congregation Etz Chayim,4161 Alma Street, Palo Alto www.etzchayim.org Teaching Schedule: Thursdays 11:30am at MaTaN on Rashbag Israel Center Tuesday evenings at 7.30pm and Thursday mornings at 9am In January, Beit Avi-Chai
North American Itinerary 2016 May 7 NYC Riverdale HIR
May 8 NYC 10 am Yeshivah University students May 9 Chicago Torah Learning Center of Northbrook
May 10-12 San Francisco, The Kitchen, Four lecture seminar. For information write to email@example.com
May 15 Berkeley 7 pm lecture Chochmat HaLev synagogue, https://chochmat.org/ 2215 Prince Street, Berkeley, at corner of Fulton and Prince streets,
May 16 Santa Barbara Congregation B'nai B'rith 1000 San Antonio Creek Road
May 17 Los Angeles IKAR
May 18 UCLA Hillel 574 Hilgard Ave
May 22 Boston Ma'ayan
May 23 NYC JCC Manhattan
May 24 NYC Brooklyn Public Library 7:30pm Dweck Cultural Center, on the lower level of Central Library at 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238
May 25 NYC Skirball at Temple Emmanuel
May 27-30 Toronto
May 31 Detroit
June 2 Long Island 7:30pm Rabbi Lina Zerbarini Director, Weinberger Center for Jewish Life and Learning Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center 300 Forest Drive · East Hills, NY 11548 · 516-484-1545, ext. 166 www.sjjcc.org
June 3-5 Pittsburgh
2016 Lecture topics
Lech lecha: Becoming Abraham We will discuss Abraham as traveler and teacher. Midrashic material offers us a wealth of imagery - from burning castles to vials of perfume to drops of dew - that help us to engage with Abram's quest. What does it mean to become Abraham?
Is redemption possible? Of Women and Mirrors The Egyptian exile is described in mystical sources as the Exile of the Word. If the Israelites are to be released from Egypt, an inner process of recovery will be necessary. Can the traumatic constrictions of a personal world find a new language that will open up larger possibilities?
The Murmuring Deep We will discuss Moses’ speech inhibition as a pivotal issue in the Exodus narrative. What is the nature of this ‘impediment’? We will look at midrashic and hassidic sources, as well as philosophical and psychoanalytic thinking on the role of voice in communication.
‘Axe for the frozen sea within us:’ law and violence After the Revelation at Sinai, civil laws are given – many of them in the form of short narratives that describe how the violence of human aggression is to be met by the violence of the law. We will explore midrashic, hassidic and psychoanalytic sources that deal with the problem of integrating aggression and empathy.
Moses Veiled and Unveiled The anticlimax to the narrative of revelation at Mount Sinai is the catastrophic episode of the Golden Calf. We will explore Moses’ role in this episode: Why does his face radiate light at the end of the narrative?
'Let me see that good land:' The Story of a Human Life
'Moses fails to enter Canaan not because his life is too short but because it is a human life.' (Kafka) Moses' fundamental sense of himself as 'not a man of words' comes to a poignant consummation in the long speeches he makes to the people before he dies. What is his purpose in these speeches, and particularly in his narrative about his desire to 'cross over to the other side'(of the Jordan)?
7. 'And I am a Stranger:' Becoming Ruth Ruth is a stranger in more senses than one. Who is this unknown woman who is destined to become mother of royalty? What is the process by which she finds her way into a foreign and unwelcoming culture and religious tradition? How does destiny come about?