The Living Torah and Nach

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The Living Torah and The Living Nach are popular, clear and modern English translations of the Tanach based on traditional Jewish sources, along with extensive notes, maps, illustrations, diagrams, charts, bibliography, and index. The series is published by Moznaim Publishers.

The Living Torah[edit]

The Living Torah is a 1981 translation of the Torah by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. It was and remains a highly popular translation, and was reissued in a Hebrew-English version with haftarot for synagogue use.

Kaplan had the following goals for his translation, which were arguably absent from previous English translations:

  • Make it clear and readable
  • Keep it close to the basic meaning (peshat) of the text in many places, but in other places translated it to be in accord with post-biblical rabbinic commentary and Jewish codes of law.
  • Keeping it faithful to Orthodox Jewish tradition
  • Provide useful notes, a table of contents, illustrations, and a comprehensive index.

Kaplan's translation has been criticized in some circles for mistranslating the text. The dispute comes about because he consciously interspersed the translation with later rabbinic commentary and Jewish law. However, this work has been hailed as one of the best English translations of the Torah, next to Rabbi Hirsch's translation, because of his inclusion of the rabbinic elucidation of the text. Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, a prominent legal decider for the Orthodox community, is reported to have said that the translation is so good that if one is unable to read the Targum Onkelos, which is written in Aramaic, one can fulfill Shnayim mikra ve-echad targum, the obligatory weekly reading of the Torah twice in Hebrew and once with translation, with The Living Torah's translation.

The Living Nach[edit]

The Living Torah was later supplemented by The Living Nach on Nevi'im (two volumes: "The Early Prophets" and "The Latter Prophets") and Ketuvim ("Sacred Writings" in one volume). These follow Rabbi Kaplan's format and approach, and were prepared posthumously: the former two by Yaakov Elman (Yeshiva University); the third by Moshe Schapiro, M.H. Mykoff (Breslov Research Institute), and Gavriel Rubin.

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