The Bible is filled with obscurities – examples from women

  The Bible has many obscure matters. In my forthcoming book “Mysteries of Judaism III,” I will give many examples of the obscurities and how some people have used the obscurities to disparage women. The following is a short version of what will appear in the 2019 book. These examples focus on women.   Eve […]

Difficulties with the Akedah story explained

    The thrust of Soren Kierkegaard’s 1843 influential book “Fear and Trembling” is long reflections on Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son Isaac, a story told in Genesis 22.[1] Kierkegaard concludes from his analysis that Abraham represents the prototype of faith, for he showed faith when he was willing to obey God’s command to […]

More examples of mystical additions to the siddur

  There are multiple examples of additions by mystics to the siddur and machzor and to the practices concerning how and when the prayers are said. The following are a few examples.   Additions to the Shema The several sections from the Torah which the siddur and machzor call the Shema are recited in the […]

The Siddur is not what most people think it is

  Contrary to what most people think, the siddur and machzor are not books containing a single view of Judaism. Additionally, much of what is in it are not prayers seeking help. The siddur and machzor are anthologies of diverse, even conflicting views, composed and collected and inserted into the collections by various people during […]

Fascinating ideas of Arnold Ehrlich on Noah and Abraham

             The great scholar Arnold Ehrlich (1848-1919) authored Mikra Kipheshuto, “The Bible Literally,” in three Hebrew volumes.[1] His ideas are frequently unconventional, even untraditional – for example, he denied that Kings David and Solomon ever existed – yet his ideas are generally very intelligent and thought provoking. The following are […]

Judaism’s first non-biblical philosopher

                                             Scholars have recognized long ago that the Bible has “wisdom books,” books that contain philosophy. They are Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes (also called Qohelet), and Ben Sira (also called Sirach and Ecclesiasticus) and the […]

Does God punish even after a person repents?

  In the September 9, 2018 “thetorah.com,” Dr. Rabbi Zev Farber[1] offers a very thoughtful essay “Does YHWH Remit Punishment.” He asks does God inflict punishment even after a person repents. He cites several Torah statements that seem to indicate that even after people repent, they and their innocent descendants are punished for several generations. […]

Was Abel and not Cain the real villain?

In his 1919 superb novel Demian, the 1946 Nobel Prize winning author Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) suggested, despite the biblical text clearly stating that Cain criminally murdered his brother Abel, that it is possible to interpret the biblical story of Genesis 4 hinting that Abel was the brother who acted improperly.   The 1919 novel Hesse’s […]

Some Jokes

I received these jokes from a former study partner, a smart fellow, and I think you will like them as I did.   A little boy went up to his father and asked: ‘Dad, where did my Intelligence come from?’ The father replied. ‘Well, son, you must have got it from your mother, Cause I […]

More information about Nachmanides

  In my last essay, I included some of the facts about the great sage Nachmanides that are in my recent book “Nachmanides, An Unusual Thinker.” I did not include the supporting notes that are in the book. Here are some additional views by the great sage. Reading Mystic ideas into halakhah Nachmanides inserted his […]

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