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Targum Americana - Bereshit / Genesis: The Bible Understood by Yirmi (Irwin) Tyler - HTML preview

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Why was this interpretation of the Word of God created? The answer really is very simple. Those of us who did not grow up with Biblical Hebrew, the Holy Language, as a living language find it very difficult to appreciate the nuances and poetry in the words of Torah. This lack of fluency in the language causes confusion for many. Too, the great Jewish teachers and commentators, who were very well versed in the language, often disagreed as to their understanding of God’s meaning, or they expanded the thoughts of those who commented before them. This, again resulted in apparently conflicting translations and commentaries.

More than that, even the simple meaning of these Hebrew words is not always easily understood by even those who have studied the language. The reason, again, is very simple. God placed within His Words of Torah many levels of meaning, for us to extract as the times dictate. This often leaves us bewildered, wondering what we are learning from the Torah. Thus, this book.

In some ways, this work follows in the tradition of Targum Onkelos, written for the Aramaic-speaking Jewish world of the Second Temple period. But this is not really a definitive English translation, nor a complete explanation of the written Torah. It is an attempt to bring together thoughts and commentaries of many of our Sages so as to make sense of what often is language strange to our ears. At the same time, it is incomplete. Hints, alternative explanations, historical discoveries each bring new understandings and levels of understandings. That being the case, this work is incomplete, merely a starting point for understanding God’s Word.

What are shown in this work as quoted statements are meant to offer the sense, not the direct words of the speaker. It is, if my skill has been applied well, a readable, consistent, understandable presentation of every single pasuk (sentence) in the Torah based on one or more readings of the revered commentators who have maintained and clarified the stream of understanding starting with the teaching of the Torah by Moses at Mt. Sinai. Where comments differ greatly I have selected either one that made the most sense to me within the simple context of the actual Torah text, or I merged ideas in a way that made sense to me. In either case, I tried as much as possible to make the language easily understood while allowing the English language to “speak” to you in its own unique majestic manner.

I have also chosen to transliterate names (Chava/Eve) and terms (tzaraas/leprosy) where the names or terms in the Hebrew have an important meaning in themselves and common English usage in other Biblical translations clearly are inaccurate or misleading.

As understandable as it may be, this work is no substitute for the many commentaries in a variety of languages that have sought to tease out the countless levels of meaning merely hinted at here. I pray that God has given me the wisdom to select properly and to present clearly. I pray that in the words I have chosen, I have not introduced unintended or confusing ideas. I pray that God gives to you the ability to receive through my words the love of the Words of His Torah and creates in you the want to probe ever more deeply into its teachings.

Yirmi (Irwin) Tyler 2011 -                                                     5772