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.


When the Ties that Bind Need to be Cut

Especially in the Modern Period, there have been countless great Jews who lost their identity and who thereby lived a disembodied and artificial existence. Its most tragic dimension comes to mind in the story of Rosa Luxemburg, the famous German Jewish political activist killed in 1919. When asked about the plight of her fellow Jews in Europe not so long before the Holocaust, she responded, “I […]

A Quantitative Approach to Free Will

Many people who have not given it much thought (and surprisingly even some who have) think of free choice as a 50/50 proposition, when it is clearly not. 50/50 almost never exists in anything, let alone the complex calculations that go into making a decision. Our environments and/or genetic makeup almost always predispose us to […]

The Tragedy of When We are Both Right

A few years back, I noted the rather discordant nature of the last stories in the Book of Bereshit. Right before the story of Yosef’s death, there is a strange scene in which the brothers show concern that Yosef might still want to take revenge on them, which he quickly dispels. However though life would […]