At the end of 2008 I read Karl Rove’s column about his yearly reading contests with President George W. Bush (Bush Is a Book Lover, WSJ 2008-12-26). Towards the end of that column Mr. Rove notes that in addition to all the other books President Bush had read in 2008, “Each year, the president also read the Bible from cover to cover, along with a daily devotional.”
Having only recently finished reading through the entire תנ”ך for my first time, I took this as a challenge: If President Bush can get through the Bible every year from cover to cover, so can I. And since 2009, I have been reading the Bible every year, from יהושע to דברי הימים. I rely on קריאת התורה on שבת for חומש.
This year I will be posting some of my ideas on נ”ך in this blog.
For anyone who is interested in joining the legions of people who read the Bible every year, this is how I do it. Many people use the chapter divisions. I find this highly inefficient, because chapters can vary widely in length (at some point I might post on the standard deviation of chapter lengths in the Bible). I took my תנ”ך (the one I use is Aharon Dotan’s Biblia Hebraica Leningradensia which follows the spelling and punctuation of the Leningrad Codex, but any תנ”ך in Hebrew or English or any other language will do. I highly recommend Hebrew if you think you can manage it). Figure out how many pages you must get through in a year, and divide by 365.
Now all you have to do is read that many pages per day, and by January 1st 2014, you will have completed all of תנ”ך! In my case, it works out to 2.49 pages per day. Since I actually read 3 pages per day, and since it’s hard to have a chance to do na”kh yomi every day, this allows me about 62 “vacation” days. I will post my own schedule, which works with my תנ”ך, but there is nothing special about my schedule. I think that in most editions of the תנ”ך, if you are covering יהושע through the end of na”kh, three pages per day will work.
Best of luck and I hope you enjoy my comments.