Since before the time of Jesus, it has been the practice of observant Jews to read the first five books of the Bible, the Torah, every year. This practice developed into a fifty-two weekly division of the books, each known as a parasha. These readings were later paired with appropriate readings from the prophets. They have served as the basis of synagogue preaching until the present time.
Keren Hannah Pryor’s A Taste of Torah is part of a growing movement that seeks to reconnect Christian faith to its Jewish roots. Pryor writes fifty-two devotions to be paired with the fifty-two weekly Torah readings (as well as the associated prophet readings and a New Testament passage). While Pryor’s reflections only take up a couple pages, the sheer amount of scripture reading will increase the amount of time needed for these devotions.
The scripture reading is both the most fruitful and challenging part of A Taste of Torah. Overall, the devotions themselves were good – particularly for a set of texts that are largely unfamiliar and deemed ‘boring.’ I was also pleased to see occasional Christological connections. However, the best part of the devotion was the practice of reading that much scripture. Often devotions reflect on maybe one or two verses, but Pryor calls for us to engage multiple chapters at a time. This practice itself is worth the price of the book. Yet, it might prove a challenge for some readers. Even though only once a week, A Taste of Torah will require more time and effort than what many are used to from their average Christian devotion.
I highly recommend A Taste of Torah for both personal and family devotions.