Torah

    Book Hebrew עברית
1. Genesis Bereishit בראשית
G‑d in History
The world is created. The story of humankind until Abraham, the promises to the forefathers, and the descent into Egypt.
2. Exodus Shemot שמות
Liberty and Responsibility
How we left Egypt, led by Moses, became a nation and received the Torah. Instructions and implementation of the Tabernacle project. The Golden Calf affair.
3. Leviticus Vayikra ויקרא
Sanctity
Laws of Tabernacle offerings and of the kohanim who work there. Many other laws pertaining to the sanctity of the Jewish people. Includes "The Great Rebuke."
4. Numbers Bamidbar במדבר
Journeys
Events that occured during the sojourn in the desert. Includes census-taking, the spy fiasco and Korach's rebellion.
5. Deuteronomy Devarim דברים
World's First National Constitution
Also called Mishneh Torah. Moses' oration at the end of his life, recounting all that has occurred and the meaning behind it, clarifying the nation's constitution and the Divine promises.

Nevi'im (Prophets)

    Book Hebrew עברית
6. Joshua Yehoshua יהושע
Conquest
Conquest of the Land of Canaan. Lots of geography and military tactics. Walls of Jericho.
7. Judges Shoftim שופטים
G‑d Won't Let Go
Twelve tribes are attempting to settle the land without a single leader, while plagued by bordering nations. Repetitive syndrome: Nation turns from G‑d, things get worse, nation repents, a leader is sent to save them. Click here for a list of all the Judges.
8. I Samuel and II Samuel Shmuel שמואל
From Nation to Kingdom
Life of Samuel the prophet and leader, and how he anoints King Saul and then King David. Mostly about David.
9. I Kings and II Kings Melachim מלכים
From Greatness to Decadence
Solomon's kingship, and his construction and inauguration of the Temple. The division of Israel into two kingdoms, and their eventual downfall. Includes the stories of the prophets Nathan, Elijah and Elisha, who stood up bravely for justice, the downtrodden, and loyalty to G‑d's covenant. Click here for a list of all the kings of Judah, and here for a list of all the kings of Israel.
10. Isaiah Yeshayah ישעיה
Warnings of Destruction
The original prophet of universal peace. Full of G‑d's love for His people, despite strong warnings. Consolation and hope for the future.
11. Jeremiah Jeremiah ירמיהו
Hope
The prophet who, despite himself, was given the task of warning the people of imminent doom—unless they make some drastic changes. Jeremiah himself is filled with love for his people, and cannot allow himself to abandon hope.
12. Ezekiel Yechezkel יחזקאל
Consolation
The prophet who willingly goes into exile along with his people and plants in their hearts a pathway to hope and future redemption. Opens with the mystical vision of the Chariot, upon which much of Jewish mysticism is based.
13. The Twelve Prophets Trei Asar תרי עשר
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah. Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Not minor prophets, but just less prolific, these chapters contain some of the most influential prophecies in exquisite metaphor and dramatic language.

Ketuvim (Writings)

      Book Hebrew עברית
14. Psalms Tehillim תהלים
Man Speaks to G‑d
King David composed, collected and arranged 150 songs of love and awe of G‑d. This is the most-read book of Tanach, into which our holy mothers and fathers poured countless tears.
15. Proverbs Mishlei משלי
Layered Wisdom
Wisdom teachings, often deceptively simple, that have been plumbed for thousands of years for their profundity and practical applications.
16. Job Iyov איוב
Theodicy
Job is tested by G‑d, and his friends attempt to console him. The book that deals directly with the question of the suffering of the righteous.
17. Song of Songs Shir Hashirim שיר השירים
Love
A song between two lovers, meant as a metaphor for G‑d and His people. Many congregations read this on Passover.
18. Ruth Rut רות
Joining the Nation
The story of Ruth's adoption of the Jewish people and religion. Many congregations read this on the festival of Shavuot.
19. Lamentations Eichah איכה
Mourning the Destruction and Exile.
Composed by Jeremiah at Divine command, these five chapters lament the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of the remaining inhabitants of Judah. Read on the 9th of Av, the anniversary of that destruction.
20. Ecclesiastes Kohelet קהלת
Wisdom
Wisdom of Solomon in his later years. Many congregations read this on the festival of Sukkot.
21. Esther Esther אסתר
Hidden Miracle
The story of Purim. Read on Purim.
22. Daniel Daniel דניאל
Sanctifying G‑d's Name in Exile. Time to Come
The story of a young Jewish man inducted into the royal court of Babylon. Concludes with mystifying predictions of a time yet to come.
23. Ezra and Nehemiah Ezra and Nehemiah עזרא
Return
The story of the return of the exiles from Babylonia to Israel, and their rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple.
24. I Chronicles and II Chronicles Divrei Hayamim דברי הימים
History
Genealogies of notable families, and a recap of all the above, often with new information.