The sages relate that on the day of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the people slept in. The Midrash recounts that Moses had to wake them—causing G‑d to later lament, “Why have I come and no one is here to receive Me?”

In order to rectify our ancestors' mistake, we stay up late on the first night of Shavuot to show that our enthusiasm isn’t at all lacking.

The 16th century witnessed the birth of the custom of reading the Tikkun Leil Shavuot, a “supercut” digest featuring major cross-sections of the Torah, including portions of the Five Books of Moses, the Prophets and Writings, sections of the Mishnah and portions from the Kabbalah. The Tikkun can also be found in English for easy printing on Chabad.org.

The holiday also presents the opportunity to rededicate ourselves to studying the Torah and to purchase Jewish books to enrich our homes before the onset of the holiday.

As such, we’ve culled a selection of additional Jewish texts to give you a taste of the breadth and depth of Torah study.


1. The Chumash

Multiple volumes
The Book that started it all and gave us the name “the People of the Book,” the Chumash is an essential part of daily study.

Also known as the Five Books of Moses, the Chumash was written by Moses, as dictated by G‑d Himself. Jewish people see every letter and every nuance as a sacred communication from G‑d, rife with significance and meaning. It contains 613 mitzvahs, Divine commandments that shape the life of Jewish people everywhere.

Over Shavuot, consider studying the Ten Commandments with foundational commentary of Rashi.

(Purchase it from our partners at Judaica Press).


2. Selections from Likkutei SichotShemot

Translated & Annotated by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger & Rabbi Sholom Ber Wineberg (672 pages)
The magnum opus of the Rebbe’s teachings is now being fully translated from the Yiddish and Hebrew original in clear and elucidated English for the first time. We recommend exploring the talks on Parshat Yitro and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

You can sample a section here.

(Purchase it from our partners at Sichos in English)


3. The Tanya

Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (five volumes)

A foundational work of Jewish mysticism, Tanya maps out the challenges of human nature and the purpose of the soul in this world.

(Purchase it from our partners at Kehot Publication Society)


4. Pirkei AvotEthics of the Fathers

Commentary compiled by Rabbi Yosef Marcus (248 pages)
The sages of the Talmud collected their ethical wisdom and distilled it in these six simple chapters.

The Talmud states, “One who wishes to be a chassid should practice the words of Avot (Ethics of the Fathers).”

This handsome edition of Pirkei Avot features a new anthologized commentary from the works of the classic commentators and the chassidic masters.

(Purchase it from our partners at Kehot Publication Society)


5. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (The Code of Jewish Law)

Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried (two volumes, 1284 pages)
This classic guide to the everyday observance of Jewish law is compiled in a clear, easy-to-follow, abridged form. This edition features a crisp, modern translation by Rabbi Avrohom Davis.

(Get it from Metsudah)


6. Wisdom to Heal the Earth

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman (516 pages)Can we really change the world? Does Judaism actually empower us to make a difference in everything around us?

Through fifteen profoundly engaging essays and almost 400 daily meditations, readers are introduced to the Rebbe’s worldview of Tikkun Olam and the inner- and outer-directed work that will permanently transform life on earth for the good.

(Get it from our partners at Kehot Publication Society)


7. A Concise Guide to the Sages

Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz (524 pages)Rabbinic literature is called the “Oral Law” because it is not found in the text of the Bible. It was preserved as oral statements that originated with the giving of the Torah and became the focus of study and deliberation throughout the generations. A Concise Guide to the Sages comprises explanations of biblical verses, ancient traditions and rabbinic ordinances enacted throughout the generations. This powerful survey of the corpus of Talmudic wisdom is presented in a uniquely accessible way.
(Purchase it from our partners at Koren Publishers Jerusalem)


8. Positivity Bias—Practical Wisdom for Positive Living

Mendel Kalmenson (404 pages)

As news outlets and social networks give a constant stream of depressing news, it’s time for a little positivity in our lives. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the world or just looking to introduce more positivity into your life, this book is for you.

Positivity Bias shares vignettes and teachings from the Rebbe that speak deeply to the moment. An inspiring and life-enriching tapestry woven from hundreds of stories, letters, anecdotes and vignettes, Positivity Bias highlights how the Rebbe taught us to see ourselves, others and the world around us.

(Purchase it from our partners at Kehot Publications Society)


9. Mishneh Torah—Rambam (Hebrew & English)

Translated by Eliyahu Touger (18 vol.)

The Rambam's tombstone states: "From Moses to Moses, there was no one like Moses." Moses, Moshe Rabbeinu, gave the Jewish people the Torah. Moshe ben Maimon, the Rambam, wrote the Mishneh Torah to serve as "a compilation of the entire Oral Law, including the ordinances, customs and decrees that were enacted from the time of Moses, our teacher, until the completion of the Talmud," so that "a person will not need another text at all with regard to any Jewish law."

The English edition of the Mishneh Torah, translated by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger, is a free-flowing yet scholarly translation of the Mishneh Torah. Now is a particularly opportune time to purchase the text, as we prepare to complete the 40th annual cycle of its study.

(Purchase it from our partners at Moznaim)