Israel Drazin


Golf joke

A Catholic friend of mine sent me this joke. The Pope met with his Cardinals to discuss a proposal from Benjamin  Netanyahu, the leader of Israel. “Your Holiness”, said one of his Cardinals, “Mr. Netanyahu wants to challenge you to a game of golf to show the friendship and ecumenical spirit shared by the Jewish […]

Is the Zohar an Ancient Book?

Many mystics insist that the Zohar was composed by Rabbi Simeon bar Yochai around the year 130 CE. However, scholars recognize that Moses d’ Leon, a Spaniard living in Granada, wrote it around 1286, that parts of the book were added by others after his death, and that the work is a pious forgery. Zohar […]

Differences between a Jewish and non-Jewish tale

There are many instances where both Jews and non-Jews tell stories with some variations on the same plot. In many of these instances, the Jewish version attempts to use its version to teach Jews proper behavior. The following is an example. Rip Van Winkle Washington Irving (1783-1859) published “Rip Van Winkle” in 1820 and the […]

The world is filled with Jews

Most people are convinced that there are comparatively few Jews in the world, only about 13.3 million in 2001, about 1.4 percent of the world population, 4.9 million lived in Israel and 8.3 million outside the Holy Land. Logic would dictate that the actual figure is many times that number and percentage. It is even […]

The truth about Ruth

During the holiday of Shavuot, the practice in many synagogues is to read the beautiful biblical book Ruth. Various reasons attempt to explain the practice including that Ruth is said to have converted to Judaism around the time of Shavuot and so did the Israelites when they accepted the Torah; Ruth was an ancestress of […]

Who were the most influential Jews of all time?

Whether one agrees with Michael Shapiro’s listing in his 1995 387-page book “The Jewish 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Jews of all Time” or not, the books should make us think not only whether we would agree with his selections, whether we would delete some names and substitute others, but also who we […]

Young Abraham was different than what we think

Everything written about Abraham as a young man is midrashic. They are imaginative events, not based on anything in the Torah. A close reading of the Torah reveals a totally different young Abraham than the fictional midrashic accounts. What does the Bible say about Abraham’s early life? The story of Abraham’s early life in the […]

An insufficiently recognized biblical style

Many religious people of all faiths accept the Five Books of Moses, the Torah, as a divine document. They see that the Torah has many stories and are convinced that they understand the stories which teach them lessons. The truth is different. While the Torah relates many events, it rarely explains them. Virtually all the […]

The Biblical Flood and the Gilgamesh Myth

There are remarkable similarities between the biblical story of the flood and the more ancient version of Gilgamesh. The Babylonian epic Gilgamesh was written on twelve tablets around 2000 BCE and has survived in several versions. It was discovered in 1839 among the ruins of a buried library in the excavated ancient city Nineveh. Amazingly, […]

The biblical and a Greek creation stories

Greek and Jewish myths, reports and tales appear at first blush to be remarkably similar, but there are stark differences in how each culture views God, the world, the presence of evil, the worth of people, their duty and their future. Psychologists have recognized that one can understand a subject better by comprehending its opposite […]

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