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So far Israel Drazin has created 1370 blog entries.
3 07, 2023

Comparing biblical stories with other tales enhances their meaning

By |2023-07-03T05:17:50-07:00July 3rd, 2023|Jewish Books|

                                           One of the ways rabbis and secular scholars acquire a deeper understanding of the Bible is by comparing the events in the story with events in other biblical tales. They also compare two Bible sections that use the same word. David Curwin does both in his engaging, eye-opening 2023 book “Kohelet: A [...]

28 06, 2023

The strange tale of Balaam

By |2023-06-28T07:55:49-07:00June 28th, 2023|Jewish Books|

  Chapters 22–24 in Numbers tell the tale of Balaam, a non-Israelite prophet whom the Moabites summon to curse the Israelites. The Moabite king, Balak, sees the advancing Israelites and feels he lacks sufficient forces to defeat them. Like many ancients, he thinks that a seer’s curse will weaken the Israelites and make it possible [...]

26 06, 2023

A book that prompts us to think

By |2023-06-26T10:23:04-07:00June 26th, 2023|Jewish Books|

  "The Koren Lev Ladaat Humash - Bemidbar" is a superb Bible commentary that is very enlightening. It is filled with information. It prompts readers to think and better understand the Bible. It has clear easy-to-see Hebrew text with the highly acclaimed Koren font and the readable English translation by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. It [...]

22 06, 2023

Examining Rashi: The spies and the reluctant hero

By |2023-06-22T13:11:22-07:00June 22nd, 2023|Jewish Books|

    The Torah is usually obscure. It leaves the interpretation of the text to readers. It challenges them to think about their reading, discover its meaning, and improve themselves and society. Rashi does not take this approach. He fills his commentary with Midrashim, interesting parables not even hinted at in the Torah. The following [...]

19 06, 2023

Who was Rashi?

By |2023-06-19T05:54:14-07:00June 19th, 2023|Jewish Books|

  All we know about Shlomo ben Yitzchak of Troyes, France, known as Rashi, are his writings. We know no facts about his life. Much has been written about him, but it is all legends. It is commonly thought, for example, that he was born in the year 1040, although this is uncertain, and his [...]

9 06, 2023

The obscure law of the suspected adulterous wife

By |2023-06-09T08:53:03-07:00June 9th, 2023|Jewish Books|

      One of the most obscure Torah laws concerns the wife whose husband suspects committed adultery. She is called a Sotah. It is in Numbers 5:11 to 31. Since the husband has no proof that she had relations with another man, the Torah requires her to undergo a strange procedure that raises many [...]

30 05, 2023

Excellent advice about the state of Israel

By |2023-05-30T13:10:14-07:00May 30th, 2023|Jewish Books|

  Dr. Michael Oren’s splendid book, “2048, The Rejuvenated State,” is 104 pages in English, with a complete translation in Arabic and Hebrew. Oren is a statesman, historian, and parliamentarian. He served as Israel’s ambassador to the United States, a member of Israel’s Knesset (Parliament), and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.  He was [...]

30 05, 2023

One of the best English commentaries on the Torah

By |2023-05-30T06:03:58-07:00May 30th, 2023|Jewish Books|

    Koren Press’ “The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel - Numbers” follows its predecessors in the Biblical books Exodus, Leviticus, and Samuel as a fourth outstanding biblical commentary on the Hebrew Bible. It contains information not in other books. It has a wealth of scholarly information written in an easy-to-read and interesting [...]

29 05, 2023

What is the value of Jewish laws?

By |2023-05-29T06:16:29-07:00May 29th, 2023|Jewish Books|

I understand that Jewish laws are valuable because they help us learn how to behave and improve ourselves and society. "Values in Halakha" is by Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein (1933-2015). He was an eminent rabbinic scholar and teacher who served as one of the heads of the famed prestigious Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel for [...]

24 05, 2023

Teachings by a brilliant Harvard professor

By |2023-05-24T07:06:46-07:00May 24th, 2023|Jewish Books|

  Yitzhak Twersky (1930-1997) was one of the top scholars of the past generation. He was brilliant. He was a highly respected professor at Harvard University and founder and head of Harvard's Center of Jewish Studies. Some of his books are classics, especially his monumental work on Maimonides, “Introduction to the Code of Maimonides,” and [...]

22 05, 2023

An Introduction to Jewish Biblical Commentators

By |2023-05-22T12:50:34-07:00May 22nd, 2023|Jewish Books|

  Dr. Avigail Rock's book (1971-2019) "Great Biblical Commentators," is a very informative, eye-opening, thought-provoking introduction to twenty-four of the many rabbis and scholars who commented on the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible. All of the many who did so could not be listed in the 426 easy-to-read pages, which contain the biographies, methodologies, and samples [...]

1 05, 2023

My health and what’s next

By |2023-05-01T11:58:36-07:00May 1st, 2023|Jewish Books|

Dear Friends, A couple of weeks ago, I fell and hurt myself.  As such, I have been unable to work. I expect a full recovery and a resumption of my normal posting within the next month. I know you would like to send me emails wishing me good health.  Please do not do so because [...]

2 04, 2023

How Should we Think and Live

By |2023-04-02T10:19:19-07:00April 2nd, 2023|Jewish Books|

  Rabbi Dr. Nachum L. Rabinovitch (1928-2020) authored “Pathways to Their Hearts,” an easy-to-read book by a renowned scholar about how we should think and live. His views are correct. They are based on the rational teachings of the “Great Eagle,” Judaism’s foremost philosopher Maimonides (1138-1204). Rabbi Lord Jonathan Saks (1948-2020), called the “towering intellect [...]

20 03, 2023

Some Rational Thoughts about Vayikra and Sacrifices

By |2023-03-20T07:13:22-07:00March 20th, 2023|Jewish Books|

  The first weekly portion in the third Book of Moses is called Vayikra. The third book as a whole was initially called in Hebrew Torat Kohanim, “The law of the Priest,” since much of the book deals with the priestly functions of the family of Moses’ brother Aaron and the Israelite duty to be [...]

17 03, 2023

Mistaken interpretations

By |2023-03-17T04:47:12-07:00March 17th, 2023|Jewish Books|

  I stressed for decades that the Torah is filled with obscurities. They were purposely placed in the Bible to prompt people to think, develop themselves, be all they can be, and help improve society. Unfortunately, some people derive mistaken ideas from what is obscure. The sage Nachmanides is an example. Moshe ben Nachman, also [...]

13 03, 2023

Rational thoughts on Vayyakhel, Pekudey, Shabbat, Synagogues, and more

By |2023-03-13T04:54:19-07:00March 13th, 2023|Jewish Books|

  Two biblical Torah portions are read this week. The portion of Vayyakhel, Exodus 35:1-38:20, contains the Sabbath law, which the rabbis translated as “You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day,” which the Sadducees translated as “You shall have no fire throughout your habitations,” and celebrated Shabbat in darkness, the [...]

2 03, 2023

When is Purim celebrated?

By |2023-03-02T05:13:28-07:00March 2nd, 2023|Jewish Books|

  The current practice is that Purim is celebrated as a one-day holiday. Cities that were walled at the time of Joshua’s conquest of Israel – most notably Jerusalem – celebrate Purim on Adar 15 to recall the end of hostilities in the walled city of Shushan, where the battles occurred Adar 13 and 14. [...]

21 02, 2023

Thoughts on the portion Terumah, prayer, sacrifices, the synagogue. and more

By |2023-02-21T14:25:06-07:00February 21st, 2023|Jewish Books|

  The weekly portion of Terumah discusses some matters involving the portable Tabernacle the Israelites used for sacrifices while they were in the desert. We read the command that the Israelites must bring material to construct the Tabernacle and its contents, the building of an ark that will contain the Stone Tablets containing the Decalogue, [...]

19 02, 2023

The Graphic Novel Esther

By |2023-02-19T05:18:34-07:00February 19th, 2023|Jewish Books|

  “The Koren Tanakh Graphic Novel Esther” is an excellent volume that will be enjoyed by young and old. The biblical story of Esther and Mordecai’s struggle against anti-Semitism in ancient Persia has fascinated people of all religions for centuries. The events are celebrated joyously by the holiday of Purim instituted by ordinary people, not [...]

12 02, 2023

A fascinating book on lessons derived from architecture in the Bible

By |2023-02-12T06:17:23-07:00February 12th, 2023|Jewish Books|

   Urim Publications published “ArchitecTorah, Architectural Ideas in Judaism and the Weekly Torah Portion” by Joshua Skarf in 2023. It contains 178 short, informative, easy-to-read essays on the fifty-four weekly portions focusing on Torah topics that reveal hidden information about God and architecture design and theory in his 594-page book. He gives at least two [...]

6 02, 2023

Thoughts on the biblical portion Yitro

By |2023-02-06T05:55:51-07:00February 6th, 2023|Jewish Books|

  As usual, the biblical portion Yitro is named after the first significant word in the portion, the name of Moses’ father-in-law Yitro. His name in English is Jethro with a J. German scholars began to transliterate some, but not all, names that start with the Hebrew letter yud with a J. Examples include Jerusalem [...]

3 02, 2023

A new outstanding commentary on the biblical book Leviticus

By |2023-02-03T08:02:52-07:00February 3rd, 2023|Jewish Books|

   Koren Press’ “The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel - Leviticus” follows its predecessors on the Biblical books Exodus and Samuel as a third outstanding biblical commentary. It contains a wealth of scholarly information written in an easy-to-read and interesting – even fascinating – fashion by more than a dozen and a half [...]

2 02, 2023

Celebrating Groundhog Day

By |2023-02-02T05:22:25-07:00February 2nd, 2023|Jewish Books|

                                                                                                          Over time, I wrote two movie reviews on the hilarious film “Groundhog Day,” part of my over 10,000 reviews on books, movies, and music. The first [...]

31 01, 2023

Thoughts on the Biblical Portion Beshalach

By |2023-01-31T11:58:41-07:00January 31st, 2023|Jewish Books|

  The weekly biblical portion Beshalach, meaning When Pharaoh “sent out” the Israelites from their centuries of enslavement, tells how the exodus began, Pharaoh pursued the Israelites, the Israelites’ panic, God’s assurance of safety, the splitting of the sea, the survival of the Israelites in the sea while Egyptians drowned, the Israelites sing a song [...]

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