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Beginnings: Reflections on the Bible's Intriguing Firsts Hardcover – March 1, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
In this innovative and skillfully woven analysis of biblical firsts, Shalev (A Pigeon and a Boy), an Israeli columnist, probes the significance and underlying stories associated with 11 of the Bible's "firsts." He investigates the meaning of the first laugh, explains how the first Jewish monarchy arose, and explores the tragic story of the first loving woman, all from a firmly secular perspective. Shalev's vast biblical knowledge is evident, and he does not hesitate to offer his own take on a given subject, a perspective that often differs from traditional rabbinic understanding—a point he proudly makes throughout his work. His scrutiny of all aspects relating to a particular theme, his colorful descriptions of hallowed biblical figures, and his smooth pen enhance this biblical narrative, but some may find his frequent derision of traditional analysis distasteful and his sometimes casual writing distracting. Readers, either familiar or unacquainted with the biblical text, will enjoy this accessible and authentic excursion into the ancient world of Jewish life. (Mar.)
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Shalev, an Israeli writer, sees value in the first things of the Bible: the first law, the first king, the first laugh, etc. Unfortunately, he doesn�t exactly share with his readers what that value is. That puts many of Shalev�s observations into the category of Bible trivia. Still, each �first� receives a full chapter in which the author puts his fine storytelling skills to work. His tone is light and easy, with interpretations of biblical events that are creative at times. The book begins with the �first love,� between Isaac and Rebecca, which Shalev identifies fairly rigidly. In other chapters, he is less a stickler. What was the first dream in the Bible? The dream of Abimelech, a Philistine king. Shalev chooses, however, to devote 90 percent of the chapter to the first Hebrew dream (i.e., Jacob�s ladder). In another chapter, Abraham is identified as the �first prophet� and then forgotten after several paragraphs when the focus turns to a pair of later prophets: Jonah and Elijah. A casual approach to the Bible that will have appeal for many readers. --Wade Osburn
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I appreciate the fact that Shalev has opened these stories up for what they originally were: the Jewish family scrap book. This means we don't have to make excuses for Abraham's cowardice, Jacob (and Rebecca)'s deceit, or Jonah's self-righteousness. Just as you might retell the story of your great-uncle Shmulik's immigration to America (legal or not), the changes of names, etc., so did our ancestors talk about THEIR ancestors. Kol ha-kavod!
This one took me three days,
You can not take it out if your hands!!!
Meir knows very well the bible and literature, and put those two together in an magnificent book