Israel Drazin

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Nachmanides’ attempt to defend Judaism at Barcelona

“The Disputation at Barcelona, by Ramban,” translated by Rabbi Dr. Charles B. Chavel, is a classic text composed by Nachmanides (1195-1270), also known as Ramban, of the formal dispute that Nachmanides had with Pablo Christiani in 1263 before the king of Aragon, James I. It is an interesting piece of Jewish history. There are two […]

Rosh Hashanah is not a biblical holiday

  Have you ever wondered why Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are not highlighted in the Torah as pilgrimage holidays, as Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot are? This is because neither Rosh Hashanah nor Yom Kippur are biblical holidays. Both replaced biblical holidays, and are notably different from the holidays they replaced.[1] The biblical holiday Yom Teruah, […]

The curious views of Nahmanides

  Nachmanides was a famed Bible and Talmud commentator. His real name was Moses ben Nahman Gerondi. He is known in Hebrew as Ramban and in European languages as Nahmanides, also spelt Nachmanides (1194-1270). He was a mystic and had mystical ideas. What are some of his views? Among much else, Nahmanides believed that Jews […]

How to predict the weather

  Although for 24 hours seven days a week before Hurricane Irma hit Florida the weather forecasters foretold that there was a good chance the hurricane would hit my city Boca Raton, Florida, I knew that there was a good chance that it would not do so. And I was right. How did I know? […]

Thoughts on “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

  I watched the 1945 black and white film “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and it reminded me of some serious questions. The film a perfect portrayal of Oscar Wilde’s famous tale of a handsome young man, living in 1886 London, who looked at a picture painted of him and said sadly that while he […]

Is God involved in prophecy?

                                                                                         The views of Abraham Joshua Heschel and Maimonides The late Abraham […]

Is the concept of “faith” sensible?

My answer is no. Ever since I was a child, I heard about faith and understood that it makes no sense. One day when I was still young my father Rabbi Dr. Nathan Drazin took me to hear a lecture by the famous Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Heschel said the faith is not a Jewish […]

The Seven Noahide Commandments

  In 1986, the Lubavitcher Rebbe invited me to speak with him and requested that I, an American Army General, speak at Army bases around the world about the Seven Noahide Commandments. Although I try to think rationally and not mystically like the Rebbe, I did so, and this is a version of that speech.   […]

The Tashlich Ceremony: A Bribe to Silence Satan

                                                          The tashlich ceremony preserves a superstitious belief held by Jews of ancient times concerning water and the divine beings that dwell in and around it. The […]

A secret rabbis do not reveal

  Abraham Joshua Heschel’s book Torah min hashamayim (translated into English by Gordon Tucker as “Heavenly Torah: As refracted Through the Generations”) reveals a truth that most rabbis do not know or, if they know, refuse to reveal. The methodologies of Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Ishmael differed on how to interpret the Torah, and only […]

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