Monday, May 28, 2018

Bewilderments: Reflections on the Book of Numbers Paperback – September 5, 2017 by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg (Schocken)

There are not many great commentaries on the Book of Numbers, but now comes Avivah Gottleib Zornberg’s “Bewilderments: Reflections on the Book of Numbers” (Schocken 2015), hot off the press. I have long been an admirer of her work, first with “Genesis: The Beginning of Desire,” thence “The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus.” All three of these should grow to classic importance. I would assume at this point that she may be planning volumes on Leviticus and Deuteronomy, as well, giving us a full set of reflections on the entire Torah. More power to this marvelous literary commentator and philosopher. … But there is something new about this work, making it to stand out. She seems to me to have grown in literary dexterity, making this work far more accessible than those previous, even a joy to read. … First, buy “Bewilderments,” then go read the other two in reverse order, so as to receive the full Avivah impact. Second, I ask you, when was the last time you were jumping up and down to study Numbers? My answer is that you have never realized its historical and literary genius until you read Avivah.

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