The Hidden Order of Intimacy: Reflections on the Book of Leviticus

Schocken. Mar. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780805243574. $30. REL
As a commentary that mulls over and spirals through the content of Leviticus, this work is reflective, not a critical analysis or a line-by-line study. Instead, Torah scholar Zornberg (The Beginning of Desire) moves through themes in Leviticus, interplaying the texts from the Torah with passages from rabbinic commentary. Her textual conversation is interspersed with forays into psychology, philosophy, and literature. Zornberg creates a revolving world of texts that often flashes with new insight on the biblical material. At times, though, this interpretive process could benefit from engaging more directly the difficulties readers have when encountering these sources from the past. While Zornberg is erudite within her circle of texts, there are places where it would have been appropriate to slow down and deal more directly with the gaps between the historical authors and the contemporary readers, on issues of disability, race, sexuality, and violence.
VERDICT Although readers might be occasionally disappointed by an infelicitous approach to a delicate topic or a missed opportunity for a critical conversation with pre-modern quotations, reading Leviticus alongside Zornberg still manages to be a thoughtful, informative experience.
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