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The Torah For Dummies Paperback – Jan 3 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies (Jan. 3 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470173459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470173459
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 2 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #257,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Understand Jewish celebrations, symbols, and observances

Discover how the Torah guides all aspects of human behavior

Jewish tradition teaches that hidden within the letters of the Torah is the wisdom of the universe. This plain-English guide to this profound collection of insight and guidance explains how the basic principles of the Five Books of Moses continuously apply to new situations as human history unfolds.


  • The Torah's view of God and God's message

  • The celebration of holy days in Torah time

  • Ways to follow Jewish customs according to the Torah

  • The different levels of Torah interpretation

  • Translations for studying the Torah

About the Author

Arthur Kurzweil is known as America's foremost Jewish genealogist. He is a teacher, a lecturer, and the author of several books including Kabbalah For Dummies.

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good for a beginner
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa1d9bfcc) out of 5 stars 49 reviews
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa10120e4) out of 5 stars Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About Torah Oct. 8 2008
By Richard Carlow - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Torah for Dummies is chock full of invaluable, meaningful, and fascinating information, answering questions I've had for years about what the Torah is, and what the Torah actually says. The book is presented in a comprehensible, organized and reader-friendly manner. It's divided into six sections. The first, called Torah 101, provides a clear overview of the basic and most important concepts in the Torah. Section 2 addresses each of the five books of Moses, describing the contents, the main ideas and the significance of each one. The third section teaches us how Torah relates to our everyday lives, offering an abundance of examples of how we are meant to use it as a manual for life. Section 4 talks about the importance of the Torah in Judaism and in Jewish tradition, elaborating on the Shabbat, the Jewish holidays, life cycles, traditions and symbols, as well as on the laws and reasons for kashrut. Section 5 discusses, in detail, the Ten Commandments and several common misconceptions people have, both about the commandments and about other quotes from the Torah. The last section, apart from offering a glossary of names and terms used in the Torah, includes a list of all 613 commandments (both the do's and don'ts), categorized according to subject. The book provides direct references to the Torah throughout, making it easy to find exactly where in the Torah a particular quote or idea can be found. The margins of the pages of Torah for Dummies contain occasional icons, or symbols, which call the reader's attention to particularly important concepts, misconceptions, or words of wisdom found in the Torah. My review cannot possibly do this book justice. It is simply a "must read for yourself" in order to appreciate this thorough and eloquent account of what the Torah is, and what it has to tell us.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa100e6e4) out of 5 stars A Sound Introduction and a Great Read Jan. 6 2010
By Jamie McNabb - Published on
Format: Paperback
THE TORAH FOR DUMMIES by Arthur Kurzweil is a great book. I highly recommend it. Several features really stand out. First, the book can be read front to back, like a textbook, and it can be read by topic, like a reference book. The appendices and intra-chapter references are genuine aids. Second, the treatment is both light and serious. The flashes of humor are genuine and enjoyable. They amplify; they never intrude. Finally, I never felt "lost" or as though I were being "talked down to."

This is a wonderful introduction to, and overview of, the Torah.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa10180e4) out of 5 stars from a sunni-muslim arab from egypt July 14 2011
By omer salem - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the book is good, easy to read and full of valuable information for Jews and gentiles.

i always wanted to learn about B'nei israel and their sacred text. it is unfair to call all B'nei israel: Jews or to call all Jews: B'nei israel. there is a huge distinction between both names that is lost on many people including scholars.

keeping your personal behavior in line with the Torah (chapter 9) and living by the word of the torah (chapter 10) are my favorite chapters. they attempt to summarize the gems of wisdom contained within the Torah.

i am currently seeking out a minyan of Jews who uphold the values delineated in the above two chapters plus chapter 8. when i find them, my family and I will:

1. invite them on a tour of Egypt so they can visit to my small village (Saila) in Egypt near El Fayoum, where the patriarchs Ephraim and Menasseh ben Israel are buried and where the Goan Saadia ben Yosef Al-Fayyumi dwelt and taught.

2. help them obtain the keys to the 12 closed and abandoned synagogues in Egypt and ask them to practice their faith openly and ask them to pray for the people of Egypt.

3. furthermore, my children and i will carry rocks, stones and mortar to help build bnei israel third temple, wherever they think it should be built.

4. i will explain Kiruv to my people and i will ask every Muslim i meet to practice Kiruv with every Jew they come in contact with (i.e. help secular jews become nearer to God and Torah).

my email is:, if anyone would like to start a discussion regarding this email, please feel free.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1015150) out of 5 stars Excellent resource! Jan. 19 2010
By Suz - Published on
Format: Paperback
Couldn't be happier with this book! As a convert who wants to get a better handle on how to approach studying Torah, it's been a fabulous addition to my references - it's an informative read, not in the least boring, and it feeds and fuels my curiosity to study more and to deepen my own understanding. I'd recommend it to anyone who is not Jewish and is curious, to Christians who want to get a better sense of the foundation of their own faith, and to Jewish folks who have not received much (or received an unsatisfactory) Jewish education. I'm also now curious to read other books by this author... and I know he did one for the "Dummies" series about Kabbalah. Kabbalah's not something that's really my bag, but I also don't know too much about it... so maybe if I learn something, I might feel differently? (Like so many other things in life!)
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By K. Davis - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very excited to see all the information that was contained in this volume! I just found out that I was Jewish, and had to start from Judisim 101. Highly recommended on basic beginning information on the Torah..K.Davis