Your Guide to Reading the Hebrew Bible

Learn the many chapters that make up the Tanach and find out where you can find more information about each.

Have you always wanted to read the Bible, but didn’t know how to get started?

In addition to the myriad editions of the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Tanach) available in book form, the entire Bible can be read in Hebrew and English on Sefaria, an online resource that enables users to search by keyword and provides links to commentaries and other related materials. Below, we outline the contents of the Bible, with links to our articles about each section.

Bible Overview

Torah

Prophets (Nevi’im)

Writings (Ketuvim)

Overview

Along with the numerous articles linked to throughout this guide, the following provide some general information about the Bible, its origins, scholarship on it and the Jewish tradition of commentary.

What is the Hebrew Bible (Tanach)?

Approaches to Bible Commentary

Creating the Canon

Women in the Bible

Did God Write the Bible?

Did Moses Write the Torah?

Modern Source Criticism of the Torah


Torah

Chaplain (Capt.) Sarah Schechter, at a Torah dedication ceremony. (U.S. Air Force/Elizabeth Rissmiller)

The Torah is divided into the five books below, and each book is divided into about 10 portions. There are 54 portions in total, and the Jewish community reads one a week over an annual cycle that begins each fall on the holiday of Simchat Torah. To find out this week’s portion, visit My Jewish Learning’s homepage. We also have a special index page for each portion, which includes a detailed summary of both the portion its related Haftarah reading; a quiz, links to the full text and  commentaries from a variety of perspectives.

The full list of portions can be found here.

Learn more about what a Torah portion is.

Why the Torah is read on an annual cycle.

Where to find more commentaries on the weekly Torah portion.

How to write a dvar Torah, or commentary on a Torah portion.

Genesis (Bereshit)

Genesis Quiz

Exodus (Shemot)

Exodus Quiz

Leviticus (Vayikra)

Leviticus Quiz

Numbers (Bamidbar)

Numbers Quiz

Deuteronomy (Devarim)

Deuteronomy Quiz


Prophets (Nevi’im)

Fresco of prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.

Each week a reading from the Prophets, called a Haftarah, is read after the Torah reading. Each Torah portion is paired with a specific Haftarah, which is listed on My Jewish Learning’s page for that portion.

The Latter Prophets

Joshua

Judges

Samuel

Kings

Isaiah

Jeremiah

Ezekiel

Hosea

Joel

Amos

Obadiah

Jonah (read on Yom Kippur)

Our Prophets, Ourselves: Jonah, Judgment and the Act of Repentance

Jonah’s Lesson in Divine Mercy

Why We Read Jonah on Yom Kippur

Jonah, the Jew

Jonah: Success or Failure?

VIDEO: What’s the Book of Jonah Really About?

Micah

Nahum

Habakkuk

Zephaniah

Haggai

Zechariah

Malachi


Writings (Ketuvim)

first temple jerusalem solomon

Many of the books, or chapters, in Ketuvim, are associated with Jewish holidays, when they are read. In these cases, the holiday is listed in parentheses after the book name below.

Psalms

Psalms As the Ultimate Self-Help Tool

Proverbs

Job

The Book of Job and the Paradox of Suffering

The Book of Job: A Whirlwind of Confusion

Song of Songs (Passover)

Ruth (Shavuot)

Lamentations (Tisha B’Av)

Ecclesiastes (Sukkot)

Esther (Purim)

Daniel

Ezra

Nehemiah

I Chronicles

II Chronicles

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