An accessible introduction to how to read,
study, and understand Torah—the Bible and related sacred
texts that have grown up around it.
For everyone who wants to understand
Torah, this book shows the way into an essential aspect of
Judaism, and allows you to interact directly with the sacred
texts of the Jewish tradition.
Guided by Dr. Norman J. Cohen, rabbi and
professor of midrash at Hebrew Union College–Jewish
Institute of Religion, The Way Into Torah helps us explore the
origins and development of Torah, why it should be studied, and
how to do it.
Torah is. The texts, and
beyond: Not simply the Five Books of Moses, Torah refers to
much more than written words.
different approaches to studying Torah. The many ways Jews have interacted with Torah
through the ages and how, by learning to read Torah ourselves,
we can connect it to our lives today.
levels of understanding Torah. How
Torah can come alive in different ways, at different times; and
how new meanings of Torah are discovered by its readers.
Torah study is a part of the Jewish experience. How it allows us to experience God’s
presence—and why the Rabbis called Torah study more
important even than belief in God.
This guide offers an entrance into the world of Torah, and to its meaning for our lives. The Way
Into Torah shows us why reading Torah is not the same as reading anything else—and enables us to become a part of
a chain of Jewish tradition that began millennia ago, and remains unbroken today.
Praise for Norman J. Cohen’s Work
“Encourages the readers to
interact personally with the text through their own
experience…. Opens up the process of midrash, as well as
elucidating methods of interpretation…. Could be the
first step back into meaningful and responsive
Sylvia Rothschild, Jewish
“A clearly delineated and persuasive
guide to studying the Torah.… Demonstrates the power
behind the words and encourages readers to study Torah more
profoundly and meaningfully…. Highly
“Accessible and basic, yet
sophisticated and wise.”
“Offers intellectual enlightenment
and spiritual guidance for learners at any stage in their
Judith Z. Abrams, PhD, founder
of Maqom, An Adult School for Talmud Study
“Presents places where biblical
paradigms meet modern complexities. His conclusions will
provoke and challenge the modern reader.”
Deirdre Good, ThD, professor of
New Testament, The General Theological Seminary
“Cohen’s commentaries cut to
the quick—his Torah is alive and we are the
Burton L. Visotzky, Appleman
Chair of Midrash and
Interreligious Studies, The Jewish
Theological Seminary of America
accessible…. This thoughtful volume will help readers
establish their own relationship with sacred text and text
“Cohen’s practical advice is
useful, to be sure, but it is his philosophical
ruminations—on how ever-expanding interpretations of
terse biblical texts can bring one closer to God—that
make wonderfully clear why Torah study has endured for
Library Association’s Booklist
The Way Into ... Series
The Way Into
… series offers an
accessible and highly usable “guided tour” of the
Jewish faith, people, history, and beliefs—in total, an
introduction to Judaism that will enable you to understand and
interact with the sacred texts of the Jewish tradition.
Each volume is written by a leading
contemporary scholar and teacher, and explores one key aspect
The Way Into … enables all readers to achieve a real sense of
Jewish cultural literacy through guided study.