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.


Switching the Land On and Off

According to Malbim, the Land of Israel was originally no different than any other location. Rav Hirsch, however, adds that it was actually worse: seeing two major famines in two subsequent generations tells us that when the Land of Israel is simply left to nature, it doesn’t do so well. (He notes that, in this respect, it is not dissimilar to the Jewish people.)  To read […]

Why Would God set Avraham up for Failure?

Maybe answering Avraham’s prayers was not the point here. Perhaps the whole reason God gave Avraham enough information to worry about the fate of Sodom, but not enough to know that their fate was sealed, was not really about Sodom at all.  It was God’s way of getting Avraham to develop his prayer muscles and […]

Do we Really Understand why Murder is Wrong?

It appears that the right to property may often still remain more intuitive than the right to life. We see this in the Bible when Ahab is not willing to steal Naboth’s vineyard, but is willing to have him killed, so that the property will no longer be his.   And lest we think this outrageous, it may […]