Israel Drazin

Author

The Mysterious Origin of the Passover Haroset

Many Jewish practices are not as old as people think and many had no religious significance when first introduced. We do not even know how or when most Jewish practices began and why they began. We can only guess. And in many instances our guesses reveal that it wasn’t rabbis who started the practice, it […]

Why was the first Passover different from all other Passovers?

The Israelites’ first Passover, celebrated in Egypt just prior to the exodus and described in Exodus 12:1-11, was radically different from the Torah mandated holiday observed after the exodus. Exodus 12, which describes the Egyptian ceremony, raises many questions. (1) Why does the Torah command that “this month,” the month of the exodus, should be […]

A Beautiful Passover Graphic Haggadah

A Jordan B. Gorfinkel and Erez Zadok’s 2019 graphic Haggadah will delight parents and children.[1] There are humorous comics explaining the Haggadah and Seder ceremonies in about half of the book’s 170 pages with the chad gadya, the Haggadah’s goat, explaining the Seder practices to his hungry impatient daughter. At one point, when the vegetable […]

Passover: A Dead Holiday Passed on its Name

Unlike Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which I discuss in my book “Mysteries of Judaism,” the holiday of Passover did not continue to exist in a radically modified fashion with a new name after the temple was destroyed in 70 CE. It disappeared entirely and Chag Hamatzot’s name was changed to Passover. The biblical Passover […]

I was surprised

There are two things I have been saying, and then a third item came along and surprised me. I mentioned often that there is no concept of “sin” in the Hebrew Bible as a distorting stain upon the soul that requires a kind of supernatural atonement process, as the concept is understood today. I suggested […]

Gentle Judaic Wisdom

Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel’s book “Gentle Judaic Wisdom” is a brilliant work, very wise, easy to read, and deceptively simple. The book is filled with quotes that have significant information. It is a rich cornucopia of wisdom quoted from sources such as the Torah, Mishna, Tosephta, Talmud, ancient rabbis, philosophers, and many more sources, even […]

An Interview with God

Although I am Jewish, I watched the Christian 2018 film “An Interview with God.” The famed Jewish philosopher Maimonides stressed in the introduction to his Guide of the Perplexed that “the truth is the truth no matter what its source.” He used this rationale to support his philosophical teachings which are based in many parts […]

The Unusual Views of Rav Kook

Pinchas Polonsky explains two novel open-minded concepts of Rabbi Abraham-Yitzhak Kook (1865-1935) in this book “Religious Zionism of Rav Kook,” concepts that could, and indeed should, radically change the way Judaism and other religions are practiced. Rabbi Abraham-Yitzhak ha-Cohen Kook was appointed by the British, who were then in control of Palestine, as the countries […]

A new commentary on the Passover Seder

Hungarian-born scholar Eliezer Berkovits (1908-1992) was a highly respected Orthodox rabbi. He was educated in Berlin, Germany, where he received his PhD. He authored 19 books in several languages. He held fast to traditional beliefs such as that the Israelites met God at Sinai where God gave them both the Written and the Oral Torahs. […]

Esther never fasted on the fast of Esther

The holiday of Purim is observed today with a fast day called the “Fast of Esther” that precedes it on 13 Adar. Some Jews observe the fast day from morning until sundown. It does not begin the night before as Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av, and is, in essence a half day fast. [1] Esther […]

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