Rabbi Francis Nataf is a Jerusalem based thinker, writer, and educator. He is the author of the Redeeming Relevance in the Torah series and of many articles on religious thought, biblical studies, and current events and is Associate Editor of the Jewish Bible Quarterly. He is known for his independent thought and creativity that simultaneously puts him to the right and to the left of everyone he knows. 

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In this book, Rabbi Francis Nataf brings a sophisticated approach to some of the central themes in Genesis offering profound and relevant teachings from the Torah’s first book. Redeeming Relevance comes highly recommended from such notable Jewish leaders as Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm and Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein.

Rabbi Nataf draws on his keen literary awareness and deep knowledge of the text, Midrash and commentaries to provide original readings of some of the major stories in the book of Exodus. Through careful and creative textual analysis, he shows that we can still find new and provocative text-based insights.

”Francis Nataf overcomes ‘Vayikra Avoidance Syndrome’ with an ambitious set of essays that treat the book as a whole and justify its centrality in the Torah. He offers stimulating and sometimes provocative theses about… Kohanim and Israelites, Jews and gentiles, and flesh and blood.” –Rabbi Aryeh Klapper, Dean, Center for Modern Torah Leadership

This volume focuses on some of the text’s most perplexing stories in the Book of Numbers. It weaves them into discussions about the individual and the community, religious leadership and its abuse, and about communication and disappointment. Taking a new look at Judaism’s most basic text, Rabbi Nataf reads the Bible in ways that make it more accessible and more exciting to study.

A fresh look […], this volume focuses on topics such as mortality, personal vision, identity, humanity, and religion and state. Rabbi Francis Nataf shows his talent for discovering previously untouched facets of the Torah and connecting them to Jewish tradition. The clarity of the insights and patterns presented shows how a personal analysis of the biblical text can lead to living a more spiritually rewarding and ethically correct life.


Wisdom of the Longer Path

If we put ourselves in the place of the Israelites heading to the Land of Israel, the trek described in Bemidbar seems rather tortuous. There we read about a relatively straightforward and short journey that turns into a circuitous journey of forty years. Though this is the way most readers will understand the story, it…

When Questions Did Kill

In yeshivot, there is an important piece of wisdom that keeps discussions going when we find ourselves stumped. The adage, attributed to R. Chaim Voloziner, is that “Fun a kashe shtarbt man nisht” (One doesn’t die from a question).” This adage is not only helpful practically, but also sound intellectually. Whether in the sciences or in the…

Are You Sure You Wouldn’t Have Worshiped the Golden Calf?

When reading good literature, there is a natural tendency to identify with the work’s characters. As we submerge ourselves into the story, we merge and almost become those characters. So if a character acts differently than we would, we are surprised and subtly reminded that we are not actually them! In this regard, reading the…