Publisher: Kehot Publication Society
Compiled by: Rabbi Yosef B. Marcus
Language: English / Hebrew
Format: 8½" x 11" Hardcover, 696 Gilded Pages
Tehillim with commentary from the Talmud, Midrash, Kabbalah, Classic commentators and the Chasidic masters
Tehillim . For simple poetic genius, for pathos, sweetness and heartfelt piety, King David’s Book of Psalms is unique.
The Psalms are songs of praise to the Creator, speaking of His greatness, goodness and mercy, as well as of His power and justice. The Psalms reflect the full spectrum of life’s experiences, both of the individual and of the Jewish nation collectively.
No wonder than that throughout the ages, Psalms has served as a boundless source of inspiration, courage and hope.
Rabbi Yosef B. Marcus has once again compiled a staggering treasure house of commentary and insights on this fundamental text, offering us a deeper appreciation for every letter and every word of Psalms.
Anthologized from hundreds of commentators, classic to obscure, this work will allow Tehillim readers to bring newly-found inspiration and meaning to their daily, weekly and monthly recitations.
The commentary is rounded off by an incisive Introduction, bibliography and index. The physical appearance is likewise enhanced by original artwork, two-color printing and an elegant deluxe binding.
People who bought this, also bought:
The worlds of prayer and intensive study have long been seen as parallel but distinct forms of Divine service. That gap has been bridged by a newly released edition of Tehillim: Book of Psalms from Kehot Publications Society. The coffee-table-sized tome features large and clear Hebrew print with an eminently readable English translation makes the book stand out is the masterful collection of commentaries from a variety of classic and more obscure sources, many of which have never before appeared in English.
The timeless words of the Midrash and the philosopher and scribe Ibn Ezra can be found alongside the insights of the Kabbalists and Chassidic masters.
The translation is also a commentary of sorts, carefully rendering King David’s sometimes cryptic words into readable English. Occasionally, additional words inspired by the commentaries’ understanding of the verses are interpolated into the text in a smaller type.
Another unique feature is the "Psalms in Practice," sprinkled throughout the book. Drawing from the corpus of Jewish literature, it features Jewish laws and customs that the sages have extracted by way of careful analysis of the texts. Like the other commentaries, each entry is meticulously sourced and footnoted.
The work is the product of a team of scholars led by Rabbi Yosef Marcus, and sponsored by Howard and Claire Glowinsky.
Aesthetically, it is a companion of Marcus’s previous offerings—the highly acclaimed Pirkei Avot: Ethics of the Fathers (Kehot, 2009) and Haggadah (Kehot, 2011). The silver-edged pages sport original artwork by Yanky Gitlin, and a medley of black text with green rubrication and miniature icons signify the nature of the various commentaries. An extensive appendix includes a comprehensive index, as well as bibliography of the hundreds of scholars and texts cited in the commentary.
True to the supplicatory nature of the Psalms, the edition is clearly marked for those who wish to use it to recite the daily portion of Psalms, either following the weekly or monthly track.
This outstanding offering, which is sure to take its rightful place as a major contribution to the Jewish library
December 2017 Anthologized from hundreds of commentators, classic to obscure, "Tehillim: Book of Psalms with English Translation & Commentary" by Rabbi Yosef Marcus is a bilingual (English/Hebrew) body of work will allow Tehillim readers to bring newly-found inspiration and meaning to thei daily, weekly and monthly recitations. Enhanced with erudite and insightful commentary from the Talmud, Midrash, Kabbalahm classic comentators, and Chasidic Masters, "Tehillim: Book of Psalms with English Translation & Commentary" is an impressively informed and informative volume that is exceptionally well organized and presented, making it unreservedly recommended for personal, temple and academic library Judaic studies collections and supplemental studies reading lists.
--Midwest Book Review February 2017
Perhaps it can truthfully be said that there is no other portion of the Bible, outside of the Chumash itself, which has greater use and influence among our people than the Book of Psalms, the holy Sefer Tehillim.
Not a day passes when the daily recitation of chapters from Tehillim are recited as part of our prayers. In fact Tehillim constitutes the very backbone of our prayers to the Almighty.
Within the context of this liturgical reality is the role that Tehillim plays in the observance of the Jewish holiday liturgical rituals. And, further, given the title of this essay, it should be noted that very little has been noted, until recently, of the references to the feast of Purim in the Tehillim. It is to this teaching that will be at the center of this week’s essay and review.
Recently a wonderful and most informative work was published by the Kehot Publication Society titled, “Tehillim: Book of Psalms, with commentary from the Talmud, Midrash, Kabbalah, classic commentaries and the Chasidic Masters” all skillfully compiled by Rabbi Yosef B. Marcus.
This most comprehensive English work includes many known and little known insights into the deeper meanings of Psalm texts that will surely help to further enhance you learning and appreciation of the Tehillim texts within the context of the Jewish prayer rituals and their meanings for this coming Purim.
Given the upcoming Purim festival this coming week, I choose to focus upon some little known references to the Purim observance as sighted in this precious work.
The first reference to Purim in this work is found in Psalms 10 citing a definition to the “Theology of Anti-Semitism” [page 17b] wherein we learn the following teaching:
“When thieves are impeded by a gate surrounding a vineyard, what do they do? They breach the fence and then enter the vineyard. Likewise, when the nations seek to attack the Jewish people, who are called G-d’s vineyard, they first blaspheme G-d and then attack the Jewish people [Midrash Tehillim].”
From here, the first reference in the commentary to anti-Jewish bigotry, we continue on to Psalm 22, “Ayelet Hashachar”, and learn of the following: “Specifically, ayelet hashachar alludes to Esther, the ‘doe’ [ayelet] who brought light to the Jewish people like the dawn. “The psalm is her cry and that of the Jewish people during the difficult times under Haman’s decree [Midrash Tehillim; Yoma 29b; Megilla 15b]. See Alshich and Yaavetz, who explain the entire psalm as it pertains to Esther.”
Further on we learn the following based upon the second verse of this Psalm, “My G-d, my
G-d, why have You forsaken me!
“The collective cry of the Jewish people is spoken in the singular, since we are as one person with one heart [Radak].”
And in addition, we learn another teaching concerning this iconic verse: “Esther in the Palace” “When Esther reached the chamber of idols, while on her way to approach Achashverosh, uninvited, the Divine presence departed from her. She exclaimed: ‘My G-d, my G-d, why have You forsaken me!’” [Megilla 15b]
“Esther said to G-d: ‘My ancestress Sarah was held captive [by Pharaoh] for one night, and on her account Pharaoh and his entire household were plagued. Yet I have been placed in the bosom of that wicked one for all these years – why do you not do miracles for me? Why have you forsaken me?”
This next teaching is drawn from Psalm 30, a psalm normally associated with the festival of Chanukah, “Mizmor shir chanukas habayis l’David.
From verse six, “one retires at night weeping” we learn that, “ this refers to when Zeresh advised Haman to erect a gallows for Mordechai and all of Israel retired in weeping; ‘joy will come in the morning’ – i.e., the hanging of Haman after which: … ‘there was light and joy…”
And, from verse 30:12 we learn further related to this Purim episode: “You have turned my mourning into dancing for me.”
“This alludes to the events of Purim, when the mourning of our people was transformed to joy [Midrash Tehillim]. The ultimate transformation will occur in the Messianic age, when ‘ I will transform their mourning to joy and will comfort them and make them rejoice from their sorrow [Jeremiah 31:12; see Yahel Ohr].”
And lastly, from this anthology-commentary, from the very last verse of this psalm, “My soul shall sing to you and not be silent [30:13] we learn of the following: “My soul shall sing to you – this refers to the daytime obligation to read the Megillah; and not be silent – on Purim night, read the Megillah as well [ Megillah 4a, Rashi, ad loc.].”
Thus from these citations we learn much from the Book of Tehillim’s links to both Chanukah and Purim and begin to better appreciate the liturgical, biblical, and of the historical links that these two cherished feasts of joy have so much in common as feasts of “Al Hanisim”, feasts of divine miracles and interventions.
The author of this commentary-anthology , Rabbi Yosef Marcus is the Chabad representative to San Mateo, California. He is the author of an excellent commentary on the Haggadah and of the Pirkei Avot, both of which warrant your attention in the months to come.
--The Kosher Bookworm, Alan Jay Gerber, March 10, 2017