Clusters of Shluchim were observed around 770 and at the kinus perusing through chic black books embossed with just five words: “The People and The Book.”
When asked about the fanfare, Shluchim pointed to the booklet as a sneak peek at a groundbreaking new project to revolutionize Chumash study online and in print.
Their enthusiastic reactions focused on everything from the scholarship underpinning the project to the value it had in presenting the Rebbe’s approach to Chumash to baalei batim.
“Revolutionary beyond words!” one shliach exclaimed, while another shouted out: “My community has been waiting for exactly this for 20 years!”
Other reactions: “The Rebbe’s approach to Chumash clearly shines through!” “I’ve never understood the parshah so clearly myself,” “I wish they taught this way in yeshivah,” and “the Toras Chaim-horaah ba’chaim tie-ins are amazing.”
Rabbi Yanki Tauber, who is heading up the project for Chabad.org, was mobbed by people requesting copies. He handed out a sample copy from this week’s Parshas Toldos.
When asked what made the Chumash so unique, Tauber, whose prolific adaptations of the Rebbe’s teachings are legend in Lubavitch and beyond, said, “First of all, this Chumash presents an anthology of pirushim spanning the entirety of Torah She’be’al Peh, beginning from the Gemara and Midrash, Rishonim and Achronim, all the way to our times. Chassidus and the Rebbe’s Torah are of course a central component, presented within the context of the full gamut of pirushim on Torah.”
Tauber enumerated other features, including the book’s presentation of an array of learning styles; its judicious selection and translation of key mefarshim, allowing them to speak in their own unique voices; an emphasis on “what it means for me;” an empowering approach instead of a preaching demeanor; an eye-opening design behind both the online and print versions; and the synergy between the revolutionary Internet-based approach and its corresponding print version.
According to those familiar with the project, the Chumash will include many other innovations in layout and design under the creative directorship of master typographer and designer Rabbi Baruch Gorkin. They said that a new Hebrew font was created especially for this Chumash.