Chinese Jew’s Insights into the Torah (1)

I will open my mouth with a parable;

 I will utter dark sayings concerning days of old;

That which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us,

We will not hide from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength, and His wondrous works that He hath done.

—Psalm 78:2–4

The Torah was divinely revealed and relates to all of life. It contains eternal, perfect truth and hidden meanings that required elucidation. “Every letter and every word of the Torah contain numerous secrets” (Isaac Bashevis Singe: In My Father’s Court). Throughout centuries, there has been enormous exegesis done and commentaries written on the Scriptures and its narratives. However, questions abound, and the controversy is fierce. For example:

  • Why two different Creation narratives in the book of Genesis?
  • The LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering, but unto Cain and to his offering, He had not respect. Why?
  • For thee have I seen righteous before me in this generations” (Gen.7:1). What on earth was Noah’s righteousness?
  • It was Ham who saw the nakedness of his father Noah, why did Noah curse Canaan and his offspring instead of Ham?
  • For thee have I seen righteous before me in this generations” (Gen.7:1). What on earth was Noah’s righteousness? What significant transformation in the earth had occurred after the flood?
  • Why did the LORD seek to kill Moses on his way to Egypt? And why did the LORD leave him alone when Zipporah cut off the foreskin of her son?

Midrash Sinim: Hasidic Legend and Commentary on the Torah satisfactorily solved above puzzles. As the first book which reflects Chinese insights into the Scripture, Midrash Sinim employs the “interpreting Scripture with Scripture” approach, and explores the Scriptures in light of Jewish tradition, archaeology, history, linguistics, literature, sociology, mathematics, geology, etc. As a result, it unlocks Torah codes, reveals and expounds hidden meanings, through which the profundity of the Torah and Jewish traditions shines with even greater brilliance.

Midrash Sinim also writes of Adam, Eve, Noah, and Moses: Adam’s grand tour with G-d, specific details about the fall, the righteous deed of Noah and Shem, and G-d’s wondrous work on Moses’ way into Egypt. These tales feature a style of Kabbalah and Aggadah. Besides, they are full of quotations from the Torah and therefore present a structure of jigsaw. Most importantly, they conform to the Torah and enhance Jewish traditions.

Chapter1: Genesis Codes Every organism has simultaneously two forms—invisible form and visible form—“invisible form” means “unformed substance” or “unformed frame,” which is nonphysical and has neither dimension nor shape; “visible form” refers to the flesh which occupies a physical space. Expounding the creation process and revealing that G-d created these two forms in sequence, this chapter explains away the literal repetition, contradiction and fragment of Genesis 1-2 narrative.

Chapter 2: Numbers and Mathematics in the Torah This chapter discusses and unveils the complexities of numerical mysteries, Such as: the relationship among 10, 613, 248 and 365; the symbols of the six angles of Magen David; Jacob’s age when he got married, etc. Step by step, readers are led to the profound message hidden in Scriptures over centuries.

Chapter 3: Scripture Commentary I  Verses that range from Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 5:3 are successively interpreted, and innovative commentaries are therefore presented. For example: there is a micro-Torah embedded within the Torah; Prior to creating the world, G-d was keeping the Sabbath; Adam had lived in the Garden of Eden for one hundred years.

Chapter 4: One Hundred Years of Glory This chapter relates Adam’s gripping days in the Eden. For example: his grand tour with G-d; his assistance in G-d’s creation. Full of quotations from Torah, this chapter features Jigsaw structure, Kabbalah and Aggadah style.

Chapter 5: Paradise Lost This chapter unfolds the gripping process of the fall, describing how the couple successively committed seven errors so that G-d punished and expelled them from the Garden.

Chapter 6: Good, Evil and Sin Scriptures were explored within a different perspective from what one usually reads, and it is revealed that the Tree of Life was actually an atonement tree. For the first time ever, Torah theology was discovered and expounded.

Chapter 7: Scripture Commentary II  Verses that range from Genesis 1:1 to Psalm 147 are interpreted, and innovative commentaries are therefore presented. For example: both Shem and Amram were righteous and wholehearted, Shem composed Psalm 93, and Amram was one of the seven righteous who had induced Shekhinah to descend from the heaven.

Chapter 8: For Thee Have I Seen Righteous Before Me This chapter reproduces the gripping details of the flood: the wickedness of men, the tremendous change of the heaven and the earth, Noah’s zeal for men and for all the living things of all flesh. It reveals that the impact of the flood was two-fold: destroying the first world and generating a new one, with the latter more significant and profound.

Chapter 9: The Story of Judah, the Hero The narrative framework of Genesis 37-50 presents two concurrent stories of growth and change, featuring both Joseph and Judah. Judah being understood as a positive figure, this chapter points out that the storyline about Joseph is more prominent and explicit, while the one concerning Judah is mainly implied.

Chapter 10: Now Therefore Go, Moses! Featuring Kabbalah and Aggadah style, this chapter reproduces Moses’ gripping experience on his way into Egypt and G-d’s wondrous work there, describes Moses’ ten evasions and G-d’s ten persuasion, encouragement, promise and warning.

Chapter 11: From Eden to China Ancient Chinese characters, one after another, speak silently volumes about Genesis. Their close link is unveiled, and the messages about Genesis hidden in ancient Chinese characters are expounded.

About the Author
Dr. Yong Zhao is the Associate Professor at the School of Environmental Science and Engineering (Tianjin University, China). As a Chinese Jew, he has published "Midrash Sinim: Hasidic Legend and Commentary on the Torah", and is passionate about the Torah,t he Holy land,Jewish culture.
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