A rabbi’s contribution to the extensive minyan hamitzvot literature, books that count and explain the Torah’s 613 commandments, serves as a personality test. Because there are so many avenues to take, the author’s choice to focus on philosophical, kabbalistic, halachic or other themes demonstrates his areas of interest and expertise. Unsurprisingly, the Rambam, among the greatest legalists and philosophers in Jewish history, addressed the halachic aspects in his Sefer HaMitzvot and Mishneh Torah and the underlying philosophical reasons in his Moreh Nevuchim. Rabbi Abramowitz’s delightful new book, The Taryag Companion, tells us that the author is interested in conveying a comprehensive attitude of commitment to and faith in the Torah. His lucid summaries and careful emphases of the ideas most relevant to today’s mindset reveal not only a talent for research and clear writing but a keen understanding of the attraction the Torah can hold for the contemporary seeker. Studying The Taryag Companion is not just a journey through the entire Torah; it is a lesson in how Judaism speaks to the modern soul. The mitzvot are not a burden to bear but a Divine guide through the complex maze of life. Steeped in ancient texts but written for today’s readers of all ages, The Taryag Companion is a timely guide to the wisdom of the Torah’s commandments.
Rabbi Gil Student writes frequently on Jewish issues and blogs at TorahMusings.com.