Jewish Commentaries

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The Whole Old Testament

Rashi – Commentary on the Whole Old Testament  d.  1106  After you click on a book of the Bible, note that you have to click on ‘Show’ Rashi’s commentary for it to appear, otherwise it will only show the selected passage of scripture.  Here is another (easier to use) edition at Sefaria.

‘Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak) is the most influential Jewish exegete of all time…  Rashi says ‘I, however, am only concerned with the plain sense of Scripture and with such Aggadot [exegetical notes] that explain the words of Scripture in a manner that fits in with them” – Wiki

Elias Levita – The Massoreth Ha-Massoreth of Elias Levita: being an exposition of the Massoretic Notes on the Hebrew Bible, or the ancient critical apparatus of the Old Testament in Hebrew  d. 1549  Translated, and with an 84 page introduction, by Ginsburg, 1867. 

Masoreth means ‘to bind’ or ‘fix’, that is, it was the Jewish commentary on the scribal reproduction of the Hebrew scriptures during the first millennium of the Christian era, meant to ‘fix’ and preserve the Hebrew text indefinitely.  For a helpful summary of the Masorah and its significance, see the reliable McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia.

Levita’s title connotates something to the effect of ‘a binding commentary on the Masorah’, that is, to shore up and confirm the validity and usefulness of the Masorah.  Ginsburg was a leading Hebraicist of the 1800’s.  In the very valuable introduction he says:

‘ The work now submitted to the public in the original Hebrew, with an English translation, is an explanation of the origin and import of the Massorah.  Those who are acquainted with the fact that our Hebrew Bibles abound with marginal and textual glosses… and who know that there is no guide in our [English] language to these enigmatical notes, will welcome this Treatise, written first, and almost the only, Massoretic exposition.’  

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In Latin

Rashi (Jarchi) – Hebrew Commentary in Latin with Critical Notes and Philological Illustration: Gen-DtJosh-Esth, Prov-SongIsa-Mal, Psalms  (Gothae, 1710-14)

Rashi (1040-1105)

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The Torah 

Hezekiah ben Manoah – Chizkuni

Hezekiah b. Menoah (1200’s)

“Composed in Middle-Age France (c.1220 – c.1260 CE). Commentary on the Torah of Rabbi Hezekiya ben Manoah. Chizkuni, composed in mid-13th century, is actually a compilation of insights culled from the Midrashim, as well as the writings of twenty other Rishonim, including Rashi, Rashbam and Ibn Ezra. However, Chizkuni does not name any of his sources (other than Rashi), in order to encourage objective study, as he felt that one should focus on the message rather than the messenger.”

Chaim ibn Attar – Or HaChaim 

Chaim ibn Attar (1696-1743)

Rabbeinu Bahya – Commentary

“A commentary on the Torah written by Rabbi Bahya ben Asher, 1255-1340, in Spain. Rabbeinu Bachya’s commentary includes the pshat (contextual meaning) along with aggadah, philosophy and Kabbalah.”

Rabbeinu Chananel – Commentary

Chananel ben Chushiel (1000’s)

Rashbam – Commentary

Samuel ben Meir (c. 1085 – c. 1158)

Sforno – Commentary

Ovadia ben Jacob Sforno (1475-1550) was an Italian rabbi, Biblical commentator, philosopher and physician.

Shabbetai ben Joseph Bass – Siftei Chakhamim

“Composed in (c.1660 – c.1680 CE). Siftei Hachamim is a supercommentary on Rashi’s commentary on Chumash. Written by Shabbetai ben Joseph Bass (1641–1718) in Amsterdam, it is mostly a collection of other commentaries, in addition to the author’s own insights, meant to give a basic understanding of Rashi. It is printed in almost all editions of “Mikraot Gedolot”. An abridgement of this work, entitled “Ikar Siftei Hakhamim”, appears in many editions of Chumash with Rashi.”

Jacob ben Asher – Tur HaAroch 

“Tur HaAroch, a commentary on the Torah, is written by R’ Jacob ben Asher (c. 1269 – c. 1343), known as Ba’al ha-Turim. While his concise introductory “Parperaot” (lit. appetizers) gained wide popularity and is printed in most standard Chumashim, his commentary body is less known. The English translation is by Rabbi Eliyahu Munk.”

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Leviticus

Ibn Ezra – Commentary on Leviticus  at Sefaria

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Deuteronomy

Ibn Ezra – Commentary on Deuteronomy  at Sefaria

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Psalms

Kimchi, David  (1160-1235)

The Longer Commentary of Rabbi David Kimhi on the First Book of Psalms (1-10, 15-17, 19, 22, 24)

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Isaiah

Ibn Ezra, Abraham  (1089-1164)

The Commentary of Ibn Ezra on Isaiah, vols. 1 (Whole Commentary), 2 (Translation of Isaiah), 3 (Dictionary)  See this also at Sefaria

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Zechariah

Kimchi, David  (1160-1235)

Commentary on the Prophecies of Zechariah, with notes and observations on the passages relating to the Messiah

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Related Pages

Bible Commentaries

Whole Bible Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries