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The Legends of the Jews - Volume 4

Rabbi Louis Ginzberg

Book Overview: 

The Legends of the Jews is an epic 7-volume compilation of traditional Jewish stories loosely related to the Bible. Volumes 1-4 contain the stories, while volumes 5-7 contain Ginzberg's notes and commentary. Over the millenia, these stories, which expand on the Bible, flesh out the lives of biblical figures. In the process, they help bring to life the Bible's valuable lessons.

The Legends of the Jews has been called a monumental work of scholarship. It is studied by serious students of both Judaism and Christianity. And yet the stories continue to be accessible and understood by all. They were designed to impart lessons of the Torah, and any child or adult will find much to enjoy about this work.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Amalekites, whom, at the bidding of God, he was to exterminate. When the message of God's displeasure was conveyed to Saul by the prophet Samuel, he said: "If the Torah ordains that a heifer of the herd shall be beheaded in the valley as an atonement for the death of a single man, how great must be the atonement required for the slaughter of so many men? And granted they are sinners, what wrong have their cattle done to deserve annihilation? And granted that the adults are worthy of their fate, what have the children done?" Then a voice proclaimed from heaven, "Be not overjust." Later on, when Saul commissioned Doeg to cut down the priests at Nob, the same voice was heard to say, "Be not overwicked." (60) It was this very Doeg, destined to play so baleful a part in his life, who induced Saul to spare Agag, the king of Amalekites. His argument was the law prohibits the slaying of an animal and its young on the same day. How much less permissible is it to destroy at one ti. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This seemed to be less interesting than the other books and I am not really sure why to be honest.

This is a collection of Jewish oral traditions that is loaded with interesting tidbits like detailed descriptions of mannah and unbelievable (literally) stories about the creation of the world. A number of the traditions are essentially jokes that take Torah stories as jumping off points; some of my

I really enjoyed the in depth look at the Old Testament. I didn't like the version that I read because of the typos and poorly written syntax.