In the Talmudic tradition, much of this extensive work involves questioning (and subsequently resolving) specific apparent inconsistencies of language and studying apparent abnormalities in texts and holiday traditions (“Why does the Torah use the word walk in connection with mitzvot that are illogical?”). Despite this collection’s appealing title, these teachings are not for those unacquainted with the Talmud or for readers seeking an introduction to Judaism or general spiritual and religious advice. They are complex, and to fully appreciate Eybeshitz’s seforim, readers will need a solid grasp on canonical Jewish thought, specific Torah verses, and modern-day Jewish scholarship.
However, for those who are interested in deep, textual study of the Torah and its teachings, this is a welcome addition to the canon, translated with clarity and coherence. Eybeshitz pulls from a variety of sources and covers topics as widespread as Creation, Shabbat, and the coming of the Messiah with deft, logical prose. The style is in the traditional question-and-answer: In each short section, Eybeshitz poses queries based on earlier commentary or the Torah itself and, several dazzling paragraphs later, arrives at a resolution ready to be considered and debated by scholars of today or centuries from now.
Takeaway: A great Talmudist and Kabbalist of the 18th century, translated into English at last.
Great for fans of: John H. Walton & J. Harvey Walton’s The Lost World of the Torah, Mark Gerson’s The Telling.
Design and typography: B+
Marketing copy: B