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.


The Lethal Challenge of Learning Torah from Others

If we know from elsewhere (for example, Avot 4:1) that there is no such thing as an empty man, why did so wise a man as R. Elazar (Taanit 20) make this mistake? While some of the reasons are specific to him and the particular situation, he was also likely moved by the natural tendency […]

When does the Jewish year begin?

It is important to remember that the Torah does not tell us when the world was created. And if you think that it is nevertheless clear that the Jewish tradition holds that Rosh Hashanah is the date of the world’s creation, you are mistaken. Not only is this a point of contention in the Talmud […]

Achashverosh and the Evil of Neutrality

The Rabbis conclude that Achashverosh was a man of contradictions (Esther Rabbah 2:3). But they didn’t leave it at that. When it comes to evaluating him morally, they didn’t mince words, going so far as to say that he was no different than Nebuchadnezzar, the cruel and evil Babylonian king who destroyed the First Temple […]