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About the Author

David Yitshaq Shalom (a pseudonym) was born and raised in Monsey, New York, in a mixed Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox religious environment. He received an excellent public school education and, after school, was educated by ultra-orthodox educators at Monsey Jewish Center. While studying Political Science and Political Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, David became a very spiritual and devout atheist. He took two semesters of modern Hebrew before spending his gap year volunteering in various places in Israel in 1989. Thereafter, he attended the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine. While living in Monterey California, David communed with the universe while doing yoga upon small, low-lying cliffs overlooking the Pacific ocean and staring into tide-pools for hours at a time. After a few years of studying Buddhism in his spare time and an extremely brief attempt to read the Quran, David began reading the Torah in English translation out of a feeling of guilt. Glancing over at the Hebrew text, David noticed that the names of certain characters seemed to reflect their role in the Torah narrative. This insight led David to delve deeply into more than two decades of daily study of Biblical Hebrew etymology and Torah. Along the way, he returned to synagogue becoming a prayer leader in the smallest Conservative shul in the world, a religious school teacher in the local Reform synagogue, and a gabbai at the local Chabad. Embracing the three loves of the late Chabad rebbe -love of God, love of Torah, and love of one's fellow- David continues to celebrate his Judaism with various Jewish denominations. Currently, he shares the role of ShaLiaHh TsiBuR (שליח ציבור prayer leader) and Ba'al QoRae? (בעל קורא Torah reader) in his local Conservative synagogue and occasionally prays in the local Orthodox shul. He also assists in leading the weekly Torah study and leads a weekly in depth, allegorical Torah study in his Conservative synagogue. David has written a 900+ page dictionary of Biblical Hebrew utilizing the comparative method of Semitic etymology and has recently completed his first of many commentaries on the Torah text – tackling one parashah of Torah at a time.

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