What Is Your Chumash?

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As I am reading about Devarim and trying to prepare posts on each parshah, I find that my own Chumash is a bit too light and doesn’t quite provide as much insight into what I am reading as I’d like to.

Therefore I am considering getting a new one. Ideas are of course welcome. Otherwise why would I write this post?

Tell me what you like about the edition you use and whether you supplement it with other commentaries. I reckon all your suggestions and opinions will be useful to other people as well.

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11 thoughts on “What Is Your Chumash?

  1. I am fortunate to live in a household with many chumashim. However, if I were to choose one, it would be the Saperstein Edition with Rashi translation. My husband’s favorite is Torat Chaim Mosad Rav Kook with several commentaries (all in Hebrew). Both of those are 5 volumes.

  2. Obviously, if you want traditional scholarly commentaries, then your choices are manifold – Rashi, Sforno, Ramban, ibn Ezra, etc. The Mosad haRav Kook edition mentioned by Leora would be an excellent edition to get all these.

    But assuming you’re looking for something a bit more layman-ish:
    —- The Hertz Humash is my favorite for a basic edifying humash. This humash has all the charm of a traditional German/British Neo-Orthodox rabbi giving a shul drash – seriously, this humash is like the essays and sermons of Rabbis S. R. Hirsch and J. H. Hertz, adapted into humash commentary form – but he still has many fascinating insights. It might be a bit dated, but I remember reading Rabbi Dr. David Berger of YU saying, “I still regret the eclipse of the Hertz humash, which, for all its drawbacks, introduced a generation of Jews to a humane and uplifting vision of Judaism.”

    (Parenthetically, I’ll note that the previous sentence of Berger’s, to be quoted shortly, exactly echoes a formative event in my own experience: “My personal perplexity about these matters [of gentiles in Judaism] was initially awakened as a teenager when years of reading the Hertz humash suddenly collided with the Entziqlopedia Talmudit article on Ben Noah.”)

    — The Living Torah, by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. The footnotes aren’t really a commentary, but rather, they explicate the translation, offering numerous alternate literal exegeses on the literal meaning of the words themselves, based on the various commentators. Also, he explains many obscure details of geography and realia.
    — The Hirsch Humash. ‘Nuf said.

  3. Oh, there are English translations of both Sforno and Ramban available:

    http://www.judaicapress.com/product_info.php?products_id=324&osCsid=872a4113

    http://www.judaism.com/display.asp?fp=130&sp=14

    (These books are common, and you should be able to find them almost anywhere. The URLs I offered are merelly representative.)

    Also, at http://www.judaicapress.com/index.php?cPath=28_65&osCsid=872a4113, you’ll find a fantastic variety of different commentaries.

  4. I didn’t know there were choices of Chumashim!
    I have the regular Hebrew Chumash. And a Hebrew English version that comes with some commentary on the bottom, but not from all the sources like the Hebrew one does. It was actually interesting, when I took a Jewish Classics class, other people had different bibles that weren’t from Jewish authors I guess. Because when my professor asked us to translate, I noticed that my version translated differently, I guess it already had the Artscrolls interpretation built in.

    I’ve stopped doing my Parsha posts a while back, and decided to continue them next year. So maybe for then It’ll be interesting to use different Chumashim that come with more commentaries.

  5. Mine is the Plaut edition (from the URJ), but we also use the Hertz one in shul that Michael mentions in his comment. I don’t know if the Plaut will be what you’re after though. I would love to tell you that I use other texts to supplement it, but I’m not that advanced, yet.

  6. I have the Plaut edition, Hertz edition, Etz Hayim (USCJ), and ArtScroll Chumash: Stone Edition. I actually like every one of them. Even though the ArtScroll Chumash’s commentary makes me want to pull my hair out at times, I find it to be the one that warms my heart the most, so far.

    Hmmm…First I have heard of the Hirsch Chumash. I might have to get me one, thanks. 🙂

    • Even though the ArtScroll Chumash’s commentary makes me want to pull my hair out at times, I find it to be the one that warms my heart the most, so far.
      I think I know exactly what you mean.

  7. I have the Etz Hayim edition, the Plaut edition, the ArtScroll Chumash and Women’s Torah (I totally like this particular commentary) . I like them all, for different aspects.

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