Bible Review 1:3, Fall 1985

Bible Books

The Five Scrolls: Hebrew Texts, English Translations, Introductions and New Liturgiesa

Edited by Herbert Bronstein and Albert H. Friedlander Illustrated by Leonard Baskin (New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1984) 396 pp, $12.00

A Review of the Text

Five Jewish festivals incorporate brief biblical books in their celebratory liturgy. The remarkable range of these festivals and the texts they incorporate is one of the wonders of Jewish observance:

Ecclesiastes, a cynical, inward dialogue about the limitations of otherwise highly valued human wisdom, is read on Succoth (Tabernacles).

Esther, a violent, even vengeful story of a Persian queen turned reluctant heroine, read on Purim.

The Song of Songs with its lush love lyrics is read at Passover.

Ruth, an idyllic folk-romance, is read on Shavuoth (Pentecost).

Lamentations, a quintet of wrenching cries in the face of disaster, is read at Tisha b’Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, the date commemorating the destruction of both the First and Second Temples.

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