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Torah | Prophets | Writings

Torah


Genesis (Bereshit):
Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the flood, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Sara, Rivka, Rachel, & Leah. The promise that Abraham's descendants would receive the Land of Israel and be a blessing to the rest of the world.


Exodus (Shemot):
The Egyptian exile. Moses, the ten plagues, the Exodus from Egypt and the revelation at Mt. Sinai. The gift of the Written and the Oral Torah. The building of the Mishkan.


Leviticus (Vayikra):
The laws of the Priests, the Temple, that sacrifices, and the festivals. The Jewish code of morality and ethics, "Love your neighbor as yourself."


Numbers (Bamidbar):
The struggles of the Jewish People for 40 years in the desert. The census, the formation of their camp. The rebellion of Korach, the episode of the 12 spies, the capture of the East Bank of the Jordan River.


Deuteronomy (Devarim):
Moshe addresses the Jewish People before his death. Includes rebuke, encouragement and warnings for their future. Commandments that apply only in Israel. Commandments that govern the interaction with other nations. One copy of the complete Torah is given to each tribe. On is placed in the Holy Ark. The death of Moses "the greatest of all prophets" and "the most humble of all men."



Prophets


Joshua:
Joshua takes over the leadership of the Jewish people from Moses. Covers the sending of spies to Jericho, the famous story of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho, and the conquest of the land of Canaan.


Judges:
Begins with the death of Joshua and continues until the period of Samson (approximately 400 years). Written by Samuel as a prophetic criticism for future generations, it also reveals a successful period of self-government prior to the establishment of the monarchy.


Samuel I:
Begins with Samuel's birth and tutelage under Eli the high priest, detailing the major events of the next half century, of which Samuel, as G-d's prophet, played an important role. Ends with the passing of Samuel and the death of King Saul on the battlefield.


Samuel II:
Covers the transfer of Israel's leadership to its second king, David.


Kings I:
Begins with King David's last days and continues through the reign of Solomon and the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. Also covers the schism of the Kingdom and ends with the latter part of Elijah's role as prophet.


Kings II:
Begins with Elijah's confrontation with Ahaziah, King of Israel, and continues to the destruction of Jerusalem and the beginning of the Babylonian exile.


Isaiah:
Commences with the prophet's castigation of the people for their spiritual backsliding and continues with a description of the Messianic era.


Jeremiah:
Begins with the first two prophecies of the impending invasion by the Babylonians and Jeremiah castigating the people for their sins. In the wake of the assassination of Gedaliah, the Judean governor, he exhorts the people to surrender to the Babylonians and to remain in the land. But his warning goes unheeded.


Ezekiel:
Commences with the vision of the Celestial Chariot (Merkavah), representing the Divine Presence leaving the Temple. Although Ezekiel is in Babylonia, he forewarns those remaining in the Holy Land, of the impending destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Covers the prophecy of the destruction of the great Phoenician commercial cities, Tyre and Zidon. It continues with the prophet's discourse on the efficacy of repentance. The vision of the dry bones also appears here.


Twelve Prophets:
Covers the prophecies of these prophets, including the story of Jonah and the whale. The book ends with the last three prophets: Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Malachi concludes with the prophecy of the coming of the prophet Elijah, the forerunner of the Messiah, who will return the heart of the fathers to their children and the heart of the children to their fathers.



Writings


Psalms (Tehillim):
Authored by King David, these 150 psalms have been a source of solace and hope to countless generations.


Proverbs:
The wisdom of King Solomon, the wisest of men.


Job:
Eloquently seeks to answer one very important question: If Job is truly righteous, what makes him deserving of the punishment G-d sees fit to give him?


Daniel:
Deals with the experiences of Daniel, who was exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezeer. Includes the narratives of the fiery furnace and the lion's den. It also contains Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzer's dreams and his visions of the future.


Ezra & Nehemiah:
Traditionally counted as one book, deals with the difficulties of the Jewish people in returning to the Holy Land after the Babylonian exile, and how their leaders, Ezra and Nehemiah, solved these problems, including the rebuilding of the Holy Temple.


Chronicles I:
Contains the history of man, from Adam until the reign of Solomon.


Chronicles II:
Contains the history of the Jewish people from the reign of Solomon to Cyrus's proclamation permitting the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.


Esther:
Recounts the well-known miracle of Purim, when the Jews of the Persian Empire were saved from annihilation.


Song of Songs:
Deals with a maiden whose husband left her for many years, promising to return and restore her to her previous status. Considered to be an allegorical representation of the exile of the Jewish people and their return to the Holy Land with the coming of the messiah.


Ruth:
Relates the story of a Moabite woman who married a Jewish man and was reduced to poverty after her husband's demise. She accompanied her mother-in-law to the Holy Land, where she ultimately remarried the Judge of Israel, and became the matriarch of the House of David. The conversion of Ruth to Judaism is the basis for the laws of Judaism relating to conversion.


Lamentations:
Depicts the heartrending experiences of the prophet Jeremiah during the destruction of the First Temple and the city of Jerusalem.


Ecclesiastes:
Contains King Solomon's philosophical discourses, in which he ponders the reason for man's existence and concludes that man's purpose is only to fear G-d.


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