These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah

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ISBN: 978-0-88123-615-6

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By Alden Solovy
Foreword by Rabba Yaffa Epstein

In These Words, liturgist Alden Solovy distills the Torah into its very essence: the individual words it contains. Echoing the midrash that the Torah has seventy faces, Solovy selects seventy of its Hebrew words that are pregnant with meaning. For each word, he delves into the etymology, translation, and usage, providing deeper insights into familiar texts. Then Solovy presents a beautiful poem--what he calls "poetic midrash"--inspired by and interpreting each word. From b'reishit ("in beginning") to shamayim ("heavens") to zachor ("remember"), These Words will change the way you look at the language of the Torah.

Silver medal: Independent Publisher Book Awards (Inspirational/Spiritual category)

Table of Contents

Read more on RavBlog: The Challenges of Writing Modern Midrash: Alden Solovy on These Words

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These Words is a modern midrashic love song to the Jewish obsession with words as living, breathing things. Each chapter is a prophetic gem on a key word of Torah. What are sacred words but humanity's attempt to express the inexpressible? Alden Solovy transcends the deficiencies of simple words by offering us inspired poetry.
--Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl, Senior Rabbi, Central Synagogue, NYC

In These Words, Alden Solovy dives deep into the vocabulary of the Torah, extracting--with the aid of centuries of interpreters--pregnant meanings that still have resonance in our lives. Equally impressive, and speaking with his unique voice, are the wondrous poems that accompany these ruminations. This book is a double treasure for all who wish to look beneath the surface of sacred words and the images they engender.
--Everett Fox, PhD, translator of The Five Books of Moses

Alden Solovy has long shared his exquisite poetry, enhancing our communal worship and private prayer, Torah study, and celebrations of the seasons of the years and our lives. Now, in These Words, he invites us to accompany him on the journey that leads to his magical poetry. Grounded in methods as diverse as g'matria (numerology) and feminist scholarship, Solovy engages our rational minds in analysis of our tradition's most impactful Hebrew words before transitioning to poetry that elevates our spirits. This groundbreaking volume touches both brain and soul, offering new meaning for all who engage with our sacred vocabulary.
--Rabbi Barry H. Block, editor of The Mussar Torah Commentary and The Social Justice Torah Commentary

There is no better description of Alden Solovy than as a student of Aaron, who loves and pursues peace. And there is no better description of his work than as a tool to bring people closer to the Torah. He breathes new life into these beautiful Hebrew words, these divine gifts of inspiration. This is the holy practice of midrash.
--From the foreword by Rabba Yaffa Epstein, Senior Scholar and Educator in Residence, Jewish Education Project

Whatever may bring a reader to this compendium of reflections on the Torah, the overwhelming sense they will depart with is that of a deep care for words and their textures. ... Thoughtful reflections on the meanings of Torah.
-- Kirkus Reviews

Alden Solovy has become one of the most revered liturgists of the last decade. His latest work, These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah, continues his efforts in providing meaningful prayer to contemporary Jews. ... Every poem is bursting with symbolism, with multi-layered allusions to the Jewish past, present, and future. There is something for every person and at every time.
--Rabbi Hal Schevitz, The Jewish Post and Opinion

As informative as it is inspirational, thoughtful and thought-provoking, These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah is a treasured addition to the growing body of Torah studies.
--James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review

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ISBN 978-0-88123-615-6
Copyright © 2023
6" x 9"
1 lb.
Page count: 196