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By Jacob Z. Lauterbach / Jewish Publication Society / 2004
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Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael is a classic collection of midrash. It contains commentary on a large part of the Book of Exodus (chapters 12 to 23) and represents the two main modes of interpretation: the halakhah (legal doctrine), and the aggadah (moral and religious teachings). The work also contains allusions to historical events and ancient legends not found elsewhere. A new introduction by noted scholar David Stern highlights the work. It retains the original text – based on manuscript and early editions – from the JPS 1933 edition.
This classic work is widely recognized as a model of meticulous and thorough scholarship. Its translation is accurate, straightforward, and usable by scholars, students, and lay readers. Out of print for many years, Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael should belong to every rabbi, rabbinical school, and Jewish Studies professor, or anyone interested in Midrash.
Jacob Lauterbach (1873–1942) was born in Galicia, studied in Germany, and received rabbinical ordination. In 1903 he immigrated to America and later became professor of Talmud at the Hebrew Union College. A prolific author, his greatest work is considered to be his edition of the Mekhilta, originally published in 1933.