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New Esthers

March 7, 2012

A seasonal post rounding up some Esther volumes:

  • Perhaps the big entry this year is Norman Lamm’s (former president of Yeshiva U.) Megillah: Majesty & Mysterywhich contains Esther in Hebrew and English and Lamm’s commentary (as extracted by Joel Wolowelsky, who took it from various sermons and essays).  There are also essays about some other minor Jewish holidays and even the American holiday of Thanksgiving.  I have to admit being disappointed with this volume:  because it was made by an editor and not by Lamm himself, it suffers from some shallowness and inconsistency. 
  • The Kol Menachem Megillas Esther actually came out in 2011, but sold out so quickly that I only obtained a copy three months ago.  This is another Hebrew-English edition that features annotations drawn from talks (sichos) by the Lubavitcher Rebbe.  As such, it tends to feature a somewhat more mystical approach to the text.   I personally like this edition, which is quite attractive.
  • The Kleinman Midrash Rabbah:  Ruth/Esther – this is another volume that came out in 2011, but that I only bought recently.  Artscroll has launched on a project to translate all of Rabbah in 16 volumes – very much in the style of their Babylonian Talmud translation.  Rabbah,   The effect is arguably the closest thing in English to a traditional havrusa (partner-based) study session.  The Hebrew side of the page features the text, and core commentaries (Rashi, Matnos Kehunah, Eitz Yosef, Maharzu, Eshed HaNechalim) while the English side of the page repeats the Hebrew phrases followed by English translation and footnotes.  If you are unfamiliar with this layout, some page samples may best illustrate it.  Frankly, just the Hebrew pages in this book alone make it worthwhile.  Of course, this is a natural to read with Artscroll volume of Tractate Megillah.
  • The Hidden and the Revealed: The Queen Esther Mosaics of Lilian Broca – the closest thing to a feminist entry on this list.  Besides containing Broca’s mosaics, it has  a foreword by Judy Chicago and essays by Broca, Sheila Campbell, and Yosef Wouk, as well as the full Esther in an appendix with notes.
  • Here is one I do not plan to buy – it is just too expensive and not in my style to collect.  Taschen has sponsored a facsimile reproduction of the Hanover Leibniz Library’s 1746 Esther Scroll.   From the image on Amazon, it seems that this scroll is a bit over the top – and not quite my style, but I am sure it will find its market.  The text is apparently in German.
  • The always interesting Tzvee Zahavy mentions a nice free PDF with Hebrew and English with Rashi interpolated.  This PDF includes spoken dialogue “human or Divine” (I do not remember any spoken divine dialogue in Esther, though!) specially formatted.   The translation is the Judaica Press translation.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 8, 2012 2:48 am

    Thanks — Purim Sameach!

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