Echoes of Eden: Sefer Shemot


By Rabbi Ari D. Kahn
OU Press 2012

Whenever I set out to read a book like this, I get nervous. In my experience, most are poorly written at best and vapid, wearisome and intellectually void at worst.

So you can imagine my pleasant surprise as I read through the gems offered on every page of Rabbi Ari Kahn’s well-written and inspiring book. It is filled with sharp and essential questions on each of the weekly Torah portions and answers that are novel, thorough, intellectually stimulating and drawn from an eclectic array of sources spanning multiple millennia. There is a little something for everyone, be it practical or mystical, ancient or modern, concisely simplistic or utterly complex.

Each parsha essay has a simple pattern: Rabbi Kahn unabashedly explores questions of critical importance, then expands upon the query with further inquiries, dazzling the reader with his thorough erudition. After several pages of pleasantly written scholarly magic, Rabbi Kahn wraps up the original problems with answers of intel-lectual honesty and integrity that inspire toward more religious vigor and stimulate to just be a better person.

In a genre in which the norm is mediocrity, it is refreshing and invigorating to know that some roses exist among the thorns. This book comes with my highest recommendation.


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