I never thought I could learn — and understand — the commentary of the Or HaChaim.
Of course, I’d heard of the Or HaChaim HaKadosh, R’ Chaim ben Moshe ibn Attar, the 18th-century Torah sage whose commentary on the Torah is studied and loved by so many segments of Klal Yisrael. This is a commentary so rich, so wide-ranging, so broad and deep, it has been one of the foremost and revered commentaries on Chumash for nearly three centuries.
But what makes it great also makes it challenging. The Or HaChaim points out countless nuances in the Chumash text, and he blends the pshat of the Chumash with the interpretations of Chazal as well as his own scintillating comments. Famed for his knowledge of Kabbalah, R’ Chaim weaves many Kabbalistic concepts into the commentary and also explains many of the fundamental principles of our faith.
But … as I read through the inaugural volume of ArtScroll’s exciting new multivolume project, The Yaakov and Ilana Melohn Edition of Or HaChaim on Chumash (Shemos – Yisro), I felt as if I were learning this magnificent commentary with a talented and devoted teacher. Using the famed format of the Schottenstein Edition Talmud, the elucidated translation fills in the gaps in the Or HaChaim’s commentary, while the notes offer explanations, sources, and deeper insights into his brilliant words. Another plus: The Or HaChaim text is fully vowelized.
For talmidei chachamim and for the many who have always wanted a fuller understanding of Or HaChaim, this project offers a scrupulously researched and accurate Or HaChaim text, as well as illuminating explanatory notes. And for the rest of us? This elucidated volume gives us a brilliant and important commentary that was previously inaccessible. For ease of use, the volume includes the text of the Chumash, Targum, and Rashi, and, of course, the commentary itself — all fully vowelized. And, naturally, like all ArtScroll classics, the page design is both readable and beautiful.
This is another magnificent addition to our bookshelves — and to our lives.