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The Living Torah - Hebrew/English

The Living Torah is a 1981 translation of the Torah (first 5 books of the Hebrew Bible) by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. It remains a highly popular translation, this version was reissued in a Hebrew-English version with haftarot (weekly reading from the Prophets).Each page contains the original Hebrew with it's English translation on the facing page. Find the English only version here.

Kaplan had the following goals for his translation, which were arguably absent from previous English translations:

  • Make it clear and readable
  • Keep it close to the basic meaning of the text in many places, but in other places translated it to be in accord with post-biblical rabbinic commentary and Jewish codes of law.
  • Keeping it faithful to Orthodox Jewish tradition
  • Provide useful notes, a table of contents, illustrations, and a comprehensive index.

Kaplan's work has been hailed as one of the best English translations of the Torah because of his inclusion of the rabbinic elucidation of the text.

A Russian language translation of The Living Torah has been published.

Special features

The work is also noted for its detailed index, thorough cross-references, extensive footnotes with maps and diagrams, and research on realia, flora, fauna, and geography (drawing on sources as varied as Josephus, Dio Cassius, Philostratus and Herodotus). The footnotes also indicate differences in interpretation amongst the commentators, classic and modern.

The Living Torah was "compiled by the author in the short period of nine months."