Tag: Judaism

What is the origin of the name “Jew”?

I received an email asking what is the origin of the name Jew. Here is my response. Shalom, When the Israelites broke into two kingdoms, the northern kingdom was called Israel, after the ancestor Jacob, who was also called Israel because he wrestled with men and even with God. He was not afraid to question […]

Judaism does not know when the day begins

                                               Judaism does not know when a day begins   It should be obvious that a new day begins when the previous day end. But it is not so in Judaism. Why? According […]

Should highly intelligent people observe Judaism?

                                       Should highly intelligent people observe Judaism?   I have been saying that the Torah recognized that its laws must change and that Maimonides articulated this idea clearly in his Guide of the Perplexed 3:32. I said also that Maimonides taught that the Torah has three goals: to teach some truths and to help people […]

One of the best biographies I read in years

The Terrible Beauty of the Evil Man By Finis Leavell Beauchamp Finis Coronat Opus, 2014, 395 pages ISBN 978-0692237885 Cost $12.49   This is one of the best biographies I read in years. Finis’ experiences are unusual, even bizarre, but fascinating and thought-provoking. The book is written in language that reminded me of William Faulkner […]

ACHAREI MOT – Judaism changed radically

                                                                                   ACHAREI MOT                                                                           (Chapters 16:1–18:30)                                                                      Judaism changed radically   Leviticus 16 deals with the elaborate Tabernacle rituals of atonement performed by the High Priest on Yom Hakippurim—a plural name, Day of Atonements. The priest brought sacrifices to atone for misdeeds that he, his family, and Israelites did; hence the plural form. As […]

The Secret of the Book of Esther

                                                                                                                                                             By Israel Drazin   The Book of Esther is one of the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. Curiously, God is not mentioned in this volume of Scripture and there is no indication that God was involved in any way in helping Esther and Mordecai save the Jews of Persia from […]

One approach to understanding Maimonides

Maimonides Essential Teachings on Jewish Faith & Ethics The Book of Knowledge & the Thirteen Principles of Faith Annotated & Explained By Rabbi Marc D. Angel, PhD Skylight Illuminations, 2012, 177 pages There are many divergent interpretations of the great sage Moses Maimonides (1138-1204). Some scholars, such as Leo Strauss of the University of Chicago […]

The role of customs and traditions in Judaism

By Israel Drazin   Rabbis who offer legal decisions frequently say that customs that have been practiced for some time have the same power as laws, but actually some do and some don’t. Traditions are a twin sister to customs. Generally customs refer to behaviors and traditions to ideas, but people use the terms interchangeably. […]

Do religious laws benefit God?

By Israel Drazin   It is certainly true that most Jews today, including most rabbis, see a distinction between ritual and social laws. The first focuses on God and the second on people. In the Ten Commandments, for example, the laws forbidding idols and those requiring rest on the Sabbath are seen by most Jews […]

Rabbis have abandoned the Bible to fundamentalist Christians

By Israel Drazin   Many rabbis have, in effect, abandoned Bible study to fundamentalist Christians. Very few of their books that ostensibly address the Torah actually do so. Instead, usually without disclosing the fact, the rabbis who composed these volumes and the rabbis who deliver synagogue sermons focus on the midrashic versions of the biblical […]

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