Tag: Rational Religion

The curious views of Nahmanides

  Nachmanides was a famed Bible and Talmud commentator. His real name was Moses ben Nahman Gerondi. He is known in Hebrew as Ramban and in European languages as Nahmanides, also spelt Nachmanides (1194-1270). He was a mystic and had mystical ideas. What are some of his views? Among much else, Nahmanides believed that Jews […]

Is the concept of “faith” sensible?

My answer is no. Ever since I was a child, I heard about faith and understood that it makes no sense. One day when I was still young my father Rabbi Dr. Nathan Drazin took me to hear a lecture by the famous Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Heschel said the faith is not a Jewish […]

The Tashlich Ceremony: A Bribe to Silence Satan

                                                          The tashlich ceremony preserves a superstitious belief held by Jews of ancient times concerning water and the divine beings that dwell in and around it. The […]

The Non-Jewish Origin of Kapparot

  On Sunday, I posted remarks about the horrible practice of mistreating chickens. The following is a shortened version of what I wrote about kapparot generally in my book “Maimonides: The Exceptional Mind.” Many Jews recognized that the kapparot ceremony was based on superstition, that waiving a chicken over one’s head a magical number of […]

Animal cruelty and kapparos

I received the following from The Shamayim V’aretz Institute about the cruelty practiced against animals during the kapparos (also spelt kapparot) ceremony that many Orthodox Jews observe. I agree with what is stated and I think it is important for everyone to know about the cruelty. Therefore, I am printing it here. And I will […]

The truth about the untrue “Since Creation Calendar”

  Many people, secular and religious, of different cultures and worldviews, have attempted to calculate the age of the world. There is no agreement between them simply because it is an impossible task. Christians,[1] Muslims, and Jews have tried to do the calculation based on a literal reading of the Bible and have come up […]

Some people dislike paradise

Lost Horizon By James Hilton   The philosopher Maimonides (1138-1204) considered the biblical story of the Garden of Eden as a parable, not an actual event, in his Guide of the Perplexed 1:2. He states that the Torah is speaking about morality. I think his interpretation is correct. I will not summarize it here, but […]

Must a Jew Obey a Rabbinical Decision He knows is Wrong?

  There are various views about mistaken rabbinical decisions. Maimonides answers “no.” Here is what I wrote in my book “Maimonides: The Exceptional Mind.” Rabbi Solomon Yitzchaqi (1040–1105), better known as Rashi, the acronym of his name, makes a rather remarkable and, in the mind of many, counterintuitive statement in his commentary to Deuteronomy 17:11. […]

The Truth About Conversions: It is not Biblical

  The Israeli Chief Rabbinate insists that conversions must be done their way, implying that the Torah tells us how it must be done. They blackballed dozens of rabbis by name who they charge did not convert people using their method. There are good reasons to think that the concept of conversion did not exist […]

Fasts Observed for Events That Did Not Occur on the Day of the Fast

                                      Fasts Observed for Events That Did Not Occur on the Day of the Fast   The Jewish calendar contains a mourning period during the summer months. It begins and ends with fast days, whose precise dates […]

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