The traditional Jew has always accepted the study of Torah as central to his or her way of life. But without the ability to effectively analyze and interpret the text, one misses the opportunity to gain a deep and authentic appreciation of the Torah's beauty and profundity. In Studying the Torah: A Guide to In-Depth Interpretation, Avigdor Bonchek equips the reader with the proper analytic methods to make reading the Bible both a serious pursuit and a pleasurable pastime. In order for the reader of the Torah text to delve into its veiled, but ultimately visible, layered messages, he or she must first learn the appropriate interpretive techniques. These skills are the same as those used by the classic Jewish Torah commentators (Rashi, Ramban, Ibn Ezra, and others), all of whom were experts in what scholars today refer to as a "close reading" of the text. Among the "Keys to Interpretation" discussed in this book are the significance of word order, opening sentences, repetitions, word associations, psychological dimensions, and similarities and differences between texts.
Each key is illustrated by several examples that offer fresh insight into otherwise familiar text, and the author offers his own original and comprehensive in-depth interpretation of two central biblical stories: the story of Joseph and the ten plagues.
Avigdor Bonchek has a doctorate in clinical psychology from New York University and rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College of Baltimore. He is a practicing psychotherapist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders. He has been a lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for the past twenty-five years. Previously he taught psychology at The City University of New York, Yeshiva University, and Ben Gurion University in Israel. Dr. Bonchek has taught Torah studies at The Ohr Somayach Center for Judaic Studies in Jerusalem and lectures extensively on both psychological issues and Torah topics.