Category: Jewish Books

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 […]

The Myth of Lag B’omer

The following is from my book “Mysteries of Judaism.” The semi-holiday Lag B’omer is based on an unsubstantiated and unlikely tradition[1]. Lag B’omer means the thirty-third day since bringing the barley harvest (omer) to the tabernacle and later temples to thank God for the barley harvest. An omer is a certain weight of the grain such as […]

Maimonides’ most relevant teaching

I wrote about Maimonides’ medical teachings in my book Maimonides: Reason above All and gave many examples there. Maimonides was not only a great philosopher and writer on Jewish laws, he also practiced as a doctor and he wrote extensively about healthy living. Maimonides wrote his Commentary on the Aphorisms of Hippocrates, one of his […]

An engrossing Sephardic memoir

Rabbi Dr. Marc D. Angel’s “A New World: An American Sephardic Memoir” reads like an engrossing novel. It describes the transition of the Angel family from an immigrant Sephardic community into an Americanized group over several generations. In the process, it “reminisces” about the immigrant generation, but also deals with the struggles of trying to […]

Did Adam have an affair with a demon for 130 years?

The book of Genesis tells readers that Adam and Eve’s first two children were Cain and Able. Then in Genesis 5:3, it states that when Adam was 130-years-old he had his third son Seth. The Bible and Talmud commentator Rashi (1040-1105) relied on the Midrash Genesis Rabbah and states that Adam refrained from having sex […]

The concept of “sin” is not Jewish

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 […]

Did Jacob wrestle with an angel?

DMy father Rabbi Dr. Nathan Drazin was a very wise man. He was a rabbi in Shaarei Tfiloh Congregation in Baltimore for 31 years. I enjoyed listening to his sermons. The one I liked the best concerned his true interpretation of the incident where many mistakenly understand that Jacob wrestled with an angel. What really […]

Huge mistaken Bible interpretations

There are many interpretations of biblical event that people were taught to believe which are clearly untrue. The following are three examples. Adam lied to his wife resulting in a catastrophe Genesis 2:16-17 states that before Eve was created, “The Lord God commanded the man, saying: ‘You may eat of every tree of the Garden; […]

The Biblical rule to count weeks while Jews count days

                                     As I described in detail in my book Mysteries of Judaism, the ancient religious Jewish group Pharisees, who existed from about 320 BCE until 70 CE, and the rabbis who followed them changed all of the Jewish practices and holidays mentioned in the Torah in some ways, without any exception. As a result, Jews are […]

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