Torah(The Five Books of Moses)
Creation, the beginning of mankind, and stories of the patriarchs and matriarchs.
The Israelites’ enslavement in Egypt, miraculous redemption, the giving of the Torah, and building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle).
Laws of sacrificial worship in the Mishkan (Tabernacle), ritual purity, and other topics like agriculture, ethics, and holidays.
Wanderings of the Israelites in the desert, census, rebellion, spies and war, interspersed with laws.
The Israelites enter, conquer, and settle Israel under the leadership of Joshua.
Cycles of sin, foreign oppression, repentance, and redemption through leaders appointed by God.
The prophet Samuel, the advent of monarchy with the reign of Saul, and the rise of a young David.
King David’s triumphs and challenges as he establishes a united kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital.
Solomon’s kingship, construction of the Temple, a schism in the kingdom, and Elijah the Prophet.
Stories and miracles of the prophet Elisha, the decline of Israel’s kingdoms, and the Temple’s destruction.
Criticism of religious corruption, calls for change, and descriptions of a utopian future.
Warnings of Jerusalem’s destruction and demands for repentance, largely rejected by the people, some of whom torture and persecute him.
Dramatic symbolism conveying rebuke or hope, and visions of a future Temple.
Rebuke of Israel for abandoning God, comparing their relationship to that of unfaithful lovers.
A locust plague, a call to repent, and a promise of judgement for Israel’s oppressors.
Condemnation of oppression and arrogance in the nations and Israel, and a call for reform.
The shortest book in Tanakh, at just 21 verses, predicting the downfall of the kingdom of Edom.
A great fish swallows Jonah when he tries to escape his mission of prophecy, and Jonah repents.
Berating of Israel and its leadership for insincere ritual worship, and calls for justice and kindness.
A celebratory prophecy about the downfall of the Assyrian empire, an oppressor of Israel.
Charging God to explain the unjust success of the Babylonians, God’s response, and a prayer.
Warnings of the destruction God will wreck on the unfaithful and calls for justice and humility.
Urgent calls to build the Second Temple and descriptions of its future glory.
Symbolic visions of redemption, explained by angels, and descriptions of the end of days.
Poems of despair, hope, gratitude, and supplication to God, attributed to David and others.
Guidance for living a wise, moral, and righteous life, in the form of poems and short statements.
Satan convinces God to strike a righteous man with tragedy, spurring conversations about suffering.
Song of Songs
Poetic conversations of two lovers, traditionally read as a metaphor for God and Israel.
A Moabite widow remains loyal to her mother-in-law and to Israel, embarking on a new beginning.
Laments of Jerusalem’s destruction, grappling with theological explanations.
An exploration of the meaning of life, reckoning with death, futility, and purpose.
Esther becomes queen of Persia and foils a plot to destroy the Jews, establishing the Purim holiday.
A Jewish advisor to Babylonian kings interprets dreams and miraculously escapes danger.
Rebuilding the Temple after decades of exile and religious revival led by Ezra the scribe.
Rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls and the nation’s commitment to observe the commandments.
Recounts of events in the Torah and early Prophets, focusing on King David.
Translations of Tanakh into Aramaic, originally transmitted orally and mostly committed to writing between the 1st and 8th centuries CE.
Targumim on the books of Writings, ranging in style and date of composition.
Primary Targum on the Torah accepted in the Talmud as authoritative; read publicly in synagogues in talmudic times and still today by Yemenite Jews.
Rav Saadia Gaon’s influential 10th-century translation of the Torah into Arabic using Hebrew characters.
Pieces of Targum on scattered phrases throughout the Torah.
Rishonim on Tanakh
Most widely-read biblical commentary, compiled in the 11th-century, explaining the simple meaning of the text with interpretive elaborations.
12th-century commentary focusing on the simple meaning of the text and incorporating grammar and linguistics.
13th-century commentary weaving together biblical interpretation with law, philosophy, and mysticism.
15th-century commentary on the Torah and Prophets, opening each section with a list of questions on the biblical text.
16th-century commentary highlighting the moral and religious lessons embedded in every biblical phrase.
14th-century short introductions to biblical passages by the author of the Tur, often containing gematria and linguistic devices.
Bartenura on Torah
15th-century supercommentary to Rashi’s Torah commentary, attributed to the Mishnah commentator Rav Ovadiah Bartenura.
12th-century commentary by a French Tosafist, focusing on literal interpretations and offering rational explanations of miraculous biblical events.
13th-century commentary presenting literal interpretations of the author’s predecessors and presenting new ideas.
Commentary composed by the Tosafists in the 12th and 13th centuries, primarily in France and Germany.
Immanuel of Rome on Esther
14th-century commentary incorporating allegorical interpretation, philosophy, and mysticism.
Joseph ibn Yahya
16th-century commentary on Writings by a student of the Rashba.
Kitzur Baal HaTurim
Abridgement of the 14th-century Baal HaTurim Torah commentary.
15th-century treatise of the Abarbanel examining prophecies throughout Tanakh that speak of redemption.
17th-century commentary focusing on textual variants, cantillation marks, and vowelization of biblical text.
13th-century commentary by one of the French Tosafists explaining the simple meaning of the text while weaving in gematria and word schemes.
14th-century commentary incorporating literal explanations along with allegorical, philosophical, and mystical interpretations.
11th-century commentary reconstructed from citations in later Torah commentators and fragments of manuscripts discovered in the Cairo Genizah.
Popular 13th-century commentary focusing on the simple meaning of the text and incorporating grammar and philosophy.
14th-century commentary defining words, explaining passages, and demonstrating morals, incorporating law, philosophy, math, and astronomy.
Ralbag Beur HaMilot
One of three sections of Ralbag’s Torah commentary, focusing on literal definitions.
Popular 12th-century commentary by Rashi’s grandson focusing on the simple meaning of the text.
Riva on Torah
Supercommentary on Rashi’s Torah commentary compiled by one of the Tosafists in the 13th or 14th century.
Rosh on Torah
14th-century commentary attributed to the legal codifier Rabbi Asher ben Yechiel.
10th-century commentary incorporating essays on legal and philosophical topics loosely connected to biblical verses.
Second Version of Ibn Ezra
Second commentary of the Ibn Ezra on the Book of Esther, with overlapping themes to those of his first commentary but with many new interpretations.
Commentary by 16th-century Italian physician and rabbi with clear and concise explanations focused on the simple meaning of the text.
16th-century commentary on the Book of Esther by Rabbi Yitzchak ben Mordechai Gershon.
Toledot Yitzchak on Torah
16th-century commentary combining simple and allegorical interpretations by the uncle of Rav Yosef Karo based on sermons he delivered.
14th-century commentary by the author of the Tur with summaries of traditional interpretations, particularly those of the Ramban.
Acharonim on Tanakh
18th-century commentary on the Torah by the Vilna Gaon.
Aderet Eliyahu (Rabbi Yosef Chaim)
19th-century commentary on select verses from the Torah and haftarot by the Ben Ish Chai, with elaborative and mystical interpretations.
18th-century supercommentary to Ibn Ezra's Torah commentary.
Ba'alei Brit Avram
Mystical commentary compiled by a student of Rav Chaim Vital in the 17th century and first published in the 19th century.
Beit HaLevi on Torah
19th-century analytical commentary on Genesis and part of Exodus by Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik.
Mystical commentary compiled in the 19th century from teachings of Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschel, a 17th-century leading rabbi in Poland.
Chatam Sofer on Torah
19th-century commentary of the Chatam Sofer on the Torah and haftarot published by his grandson.
Series of 18th-century commentaries of Rav Chaim Yosef David Azulai, incorporating rabbinic and kabbalistic teachings.
16th-century supercommentary to Rashi’s Torah commentary by the Maharal of Prague.
19th-century commentary by an opponent of Reform Judaism meant to demonstrate how the oral tradition is derived from the biblical text.
Influential 19th-century commentary of the Netziv based on classes he gave on the weekly Torah portion in the Volozhin Yeshiva.
The Netziv’s elaborations upon his Haamek Davar.
19th-century commentaries on the five megillot by the author of the Netivot Mishpat.
17th-century commentary based in part on sermons delivered by the author, Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim of Luntshits.
19th-century commentary known for its assumption that every word in Tanakh carries unique meaning, with no synonyms or repetitions.
Mechir Yayin on Esther
First work authored by the Rema, written in the 16th century as a commentary comparing the plot of the Book of Esther to a person’s journey through life.
20th-century commentary of Rav Meir Simcha of Dvinsk, which he started writing as a teenager.
18th-century classic commentary on Prophets and Writings explaining verses in clear and simple language, primarily based on the Radak’s commentary.
Work originally composed together with the Metzudat David as one work, explaining individual words.
Minei Targuma on Torah
18th-century commentary interpreting and expanding upon Targum Onkelos.
16th-century supercommentary on Rashi’s Torah commentary, in part defending Rashi from critiques of later commentators like the Ramban.
19th-century academic work of the Shadal analyzing the methods of Targum Onkelos and presenting its textual variants.
16th-century commentary on the Book of Esther by the Maharal.
18th-century Torah commentary incorporating mysticism, originating in Morocco and seen as an essential work by the European founders of chasidism.
Rav Hirsch on Torah
Seminal 19th-century commentary of Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch giving expression to his belief in the interconnectedness of Torah and civilization, composed in German.
Sepher Torat Elohim
19th-century translation of the Torah into Italian, accompanied by a Hebrew commentary.
19th-century commentary by a leading figure in the Jewish enlightenment quoting from traditional commentaries as well as from Christian and academic sources.
17th-century supercommentary on Rashi, often beginning sections by identifying the textual difficulties that made Rashi’s comments necessary.
18th-century commentary by the author of the Pri Megadim, a supercommentary on major Shulchan Arukh commentaries.
Early 20h-century encyclopedia of the passages in rabbinic literature relevant to each biblical verse accompanied by brief explanations.
Tzafnat Pa'neach on Torah
20th-century commentary of the Rogatchover Gaon with a focus on analysis of biblical text through a legal lens.
Modern Commentary on Tanakh
20th-century commentaries on early Prophets by a student of Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, highlighting the text’s contemporary relevance.
Birkat Asher on Torah
21st-century Torah commentary by the editor of the Shmirat Shabbat Kehilchatah, with a focus on elucidating Rashi’s commentary.
Chibbah Yeteirah on Torah
20th-century commentary of Rav Yehuda Herzl Henkin, a leading figure in the Religious Zionist movement.
Depths of Yonah
21st-century English commentary on the Book of Jonah authored by Rabbi Chaim Jachter together with his son, Binyamin.
From David to Destruction
21st-century English commentary on the Book of Kings by Rabbi Chaim Jachter.
Moses; A Human Life
21st-century portrait of the biblical Moses’ inner world by Dr. Avivah Zornberg, drawing on traditional commentaries and psychoanalytic sources.
About TanakhTanakh (the Hebrew Bible) is Judaism’s foundational text. The word “Tanakh” is an acronym of its three parts: Torah (The Five Books of Moses), Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). It contains stories, law, poetry, and teachings about God and humanity.
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