ArchitecTorah: Architectural Ideas in Judaism and the Weekly Torah Portion

ArchitecTorah: Architectural Ideas in Judaism and the Weekly Torah Portion
    Price: $39.95 $36.00

    ArchitecTorah: Architectural Ideas in Judaism and the Weekly Torah Portion
    by Joshua Skarf

    Hardcover, 598 pages, includes 115 b/w diagrams/images
    Urim Publications, 2023

    ArchitecTorah is a collection of 178 short essays that investigate the Torah through the lens of architecture. Each essay briefly introduces a piece of architectural theory, a building, or a section of building code and then reexamines a well-known topic in the Torah to uncover new and insightful interpretations.

    About the Author

    Joshua Skarf is a licensed architect living and working in Jerusalem. He studied in Yeshivat Har Etzion and has degrees in architecture from the University of Michigan and Bezalel Academy. He has designed hospitals, train stations, shopping malls, Israeli consulates, army installations, elementary schools, museums, and research facilities in Israel. Skarf was born in Toronto, grew up in Michigan, and has been living in Israel since 2004.


    Praise for ArchitecTorah

    “The unique perspective of an expert in architecture exploring the Torah contributes much to our understanding of the verses, midrashim, and classical biblical commentaries. Most readers, who are not used to examining the Torah from this angle, will be surprised to discover just how significant a contribution it makes to our knowledge and appreciation of the Torah. ArchitecTorah enriches our understanding of the sources in an original and thought-provoking manner.” 

    –Rav Amnon Bazak, Yeshivat Har Etzion


    “Joshua Skarf introduces the reader to a new genre in Biblical scholarship – the wonderful world of architecture. This book offers a fresh perspective on familiar themes and makes the reader aware of architecture as an ever-present framework of service in Jewish practice. Seeing the Torah through this lens expands our understanding of the built environment as a Divine act – not something reserved for professional offices in the business of building utilitarian structures. The scholarly references to architectural history and the illustrations that accompany this work enrich it for both the lay and professional architectural reader. I am excited to add this book to my Torah library.”

    –Elisheva Levi, AIA, LEED AP, lecturer on Architecture in the Torah


    “Architecture is the art of giving form, function, and aesthetic to concrete structures. God, the Creator, is the archetypal architect of our world. While we may not realize it, architecture affects many aspects of our lives, whether it be the house in which we live, the office in which we work, the institution in which we are educated, etc. – they all play a significant role in how we live our lives. For human beings are constantly, subconsciously being affected by the manifold forms which they enter and exit throughout their lives.

    “How much of this very basic fact is reflected in our classical Jewish sources? Overtly and explicitly – perhaps relatively little. But there is an implicit layer of awareness hinted at throughout our sources. It is this layer that Joshua Skarf has succeeded in uncovering in ArchitecTorah, thus demonstrating persuasively the foundational nature of this concept.”

    –Rabbi Dr. Daniel Sperber, Author of The City in Roman Palestine