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Etz Hayim Study Companion

By Jacob Blumenthal (editor), Janet L. Liss (editor), David Wolpe (foreword)

To purchase Etz Hayim, please order on the Rabbinical Assembly website, rabbinicalassembly.org. If you have questions about Etz Hayim or to place an Etz Hayim order by phone, call 201-216-9400 ext. 118, or email etzhayim@rabbinicalassembly.org.

"This Companion will be an excellent text for serious study groups, academics, and individuals pursuing private study."
- Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter


An outstanding aid to reading Torah and the essays in Etz Hayim.


Why is the Bible a special, sacred text? From where/whom does it come? How does the Bible help define who we are as modern Jews? We engage in Bible study in our search for answers to such questions, but few of us can attempt this study alone.

Etz Hayim, the landmark Torah commentary publication of the Conservative movement, contains 41 challenging essays that examine various issues relating to the understanding and interpretation of the Bible. Prepared by eminent rabbis and scholars, these essays explore diverse, sometimes controversial, topics relating to Bible study, such as biblical archeology, marriage and family, revelation, and justice.

Each original Etz Hayim essay appears in its entirety in this book, accompanied by an insightful summary and thought-provoking questions designed for individual or group study. The study material not only leads to a deeper understanding of the biblical text itself, but also presents discussion topics to enhance the learning experience. Included in the volume is a foreword by David Wolpe and a helpful guide to making the best use of the book by Jacob Blumenthal.

The essays have been organized into meaningful topic groups that probe the following subjects:


  • Is the Torah Really God's Word?
  • Understanding the Bible in Its Historical Context
  • Biblical Models of Character and Leadership
  • Making the Bible Meaningful and Relevant in Every Age
  • Prayer and Ritual Mitzvot
This study companion will help foster a clearer understanding of the
Etz Hayim essays for those who may have already read them, and will
encourage others to tackle material that they might otherwise have found daunting.

About Jacob Blumenthal

Jacob Blumenthal was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary and serves as the founding rabbi of Shaare Torah synagogue in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

About Janet L. Liss

Janet L. Liss is Production Editor at The Jewish Publication Society.

About David Wolpe

David Wolpe, the author of six books, is the rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. He has taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the University of Judaism, and Hunter College, and he lectures widely at universities, synagogues, and institutes throughout the country