About Israel Drazin

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So far Israel Drazin has created 1125 blog entries.
9 03, 2020

The Book of Esther

By |2020-03-09T05:27:28-07:00March 9th, 2020|Thoughts|

                                       After writing about the book of Esther in “Ruth, Esther, and Judith,” I wrote the following Afterword about the book.   Esther is in no way similar to what many think the book contains. Perhaps most [...]

4 03, 2020

Purim differs from the biblical requirements

By |2020-03-04T05:28:45-07:00March 4th, 2020|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, as a commemoration of the end of hostilities in the walled city of Shushan, where the battles occurred on Adar [...]

1 03, 2020

A New Haggada

By |2020-03-01T06:02:52-07:00March 1st, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

“The Koren Youth Haggada,” an illustrated new 2020 Haggada for use during the Passover Seder has reflections about Passover and Jewish practices, drawing on every other page, raises questions on most pages to prompt thinking and discussion, and is filled with instructions, activities to experience, and thoughts or quotes or a story to attract children’s [...]

1 03, 2020

A New Haggada

By |2020-03-01T06:00:10-07:00March 1st, 2020|Book Reviews|

“The Koren Youth Haggada,” an illustrated new 2020 Haggada for use during the Passover Seder has reflections about Passover and Jewish practices, drawing on every other page, raises questions on most pages to prompt thinking and discussion, and is filled with instructions, activities to experience, and thoughts or quotes or a story to attract children’s [...]

25 02, 2020

Esther never fasted on the Fast of Esther

By |2020-02-25T08:41:38-07:00February 25th, 2020|Thoughts|

The holiday of Purim is observed beginning the evening of March 9 with a fast day called the “Fast of Esther” that precedes it on 13 Adar. Some Jews observe the fast day from morning of March 9 until sundown. It does not begin the night before as Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av, and is, [...]

21 02, 2020

A very informative commentary on Isaiah

By |2020-02-21T05:30:40-07:00February 21st, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Most people think that since Jewish ancestors placed certain books in the Hebrew Bible, this means that they are significant in some way, and this way is clear to even the average reader. Nothing is further from the truth. All of the biblical books have deep messages. Some are even obscure and difficult to understand. [...]

17 02, 2020

“Moses did not write the entire Torah.”

By |2020-02-17T09:53:51-07:00February 17th, 2020|Thoughts|

 The rational Spanish sage Abraham ibn Ezra (1089–1164), whose views are included in most rabbinical Bibles with commentaries, stated that Moses did not write the entire Torah. Realizing that Moses was on top of the mountain alone where he died and did not descend to report what happened there even before he died, Abraham ibn [...]

13 02, 2020

An Excellent Study of Maimonides

By |2020-02-13T07:40:36-07:00February 13th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

The Spaniard Maimonides (1138-1204) is generally considered the greatest Jewish philosopher. He sours so high above other people that he is called “The Great Eagle.” The popular saying about him is “From Moses to Moses, there were none like Moses.” The first Moses is the biblical law giver. The second refers to Maimonides whose first [...]

10 02, 2020

Thinking Outside the Cage

By |2020-02-10T08:29:14-07:00February 10th, 2020|Thoughts|

  Many readers of the Bible have caged themselves like animals in a zoo and are afraid to step out of the cages they created for themselves; they fear to think beyond the ideas they heard from teachers when they were taught Bible as children. The following are some examples.   Exodus begins in chapter [...]

4 02, 2020

Why are there two versions of the Ten Commandments?

By |2020-02-04T08:11:02-07:00February 4th, 2020|Thoughts|

There are two accounts of the Ten Commandments. One is in Exodus 20 and the second in Deuteronomy 5. The two differ in more than a dozen instances in the spelling of some terms, added and changed expressions, word order changes, and the insertion of explanations in the Deuteronomic edition. An example of a modification [...]

13 01, 2020

The Best Bible Commentary in English

By |2020-02-02T07:42:31-07:00January 13th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

“The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel” is without doubt the best Bible commentary in English. I say this after using over a hundred such books while writing my own books on the Bible, such as my many volumes on the differences between the Hebrew Bible and its Aramaic translation called Onkelos. I feel [...]

1 01, 2020

Does the Bible speak of life after death?

By |2020-01-01T05:46:01-07:00January 1st, 2020|Thoughts|

Does Daniel 12 reveal that there is life after death with reward and punishment, and does the Book of Daniel speak of the events preceding the victory of Chanukah? Life after death The biblical books preceding the book of Daniel do not contain clear statements about life after death. Although a number of verses appear [...]

15 12, 2019

The Chanukah story does not criticize the Greeks

By |2019-12-15T09:31:29-07:00December 15th, 2019|Thoughts|

Many people are mistakenly convinced that the Jewish holiday of Chanukah celebrates the victory of the Jewish religion over Hellenism and that the enemy was Greece. Neither supposed fact is true. The Jews in Judea, Egypt and other countries of the diaspora had a longstanding favorable relationship with the Greeks and Hellenism well before and [...]

8 12, 2019

Will the Messiah be human?

By |2019-12-08T08:22:10-07:00December 8th, 2019|Jewish Books|

One of our readers wrote and asked if the Bile predict the future arrival of a godly messiah. The following was my response.   Maimonides I agree with Maimonides that there is no clear explicit statement in the entire Hebrew Bible about a miraculous messiah coming to save the Jews or, better stated, the world.  [...]

1 12, 2019

Does God Know Us?

By |2019-12-01T08:29:13-07:00December 1st, 2019|Thoughts|

In response to my article “Noah’s Flood teaches us how to understand the Bible,” our reader Turk Hill wrote with a question that I answered. Dear Rabbi Drazin, After the flood, Genesis recounts G-d in a state of regret, “His heart was saddened.” This has caused some scholars to ask the question, “Does G-d regret?” [...]

26 11, 2019

Why must women begin the Sabbath before men?

By |2019-11-26T07:08:05-07:00November 26th, 2019|Thoughts|

                                       Why Must Women Light Sabbath Candles Long before the Sabbath Begins? If people would take the time to look at the bulletin of an Orthodox Synagogue, they would find something very curious. The women are instructed [...]

18 11, 2019

A fascinating new scholarly look at Moses

By |2019-11-18T08:45:02-07:00November 18th, 2019|Thoughts|

Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg is an exceptionally good scholar. In her book Moses, she offers her readers an interesting generally different but thought-provoking look at the life and deeds of the biblical Moses. She approaches the telling of Moses’ history based on Midrash because, as she states, “the biographical challenge is immeasurably enriched by the existence [...]

17 11, 2019

My most reviewed article, even today

By |2019-11-17T07:41:28-07:00November 17th, 2019|Thoughts|

                                                                                           The Shofar Scares and Confuses Satan, Keeping Him at Arm’s Length   It is absolutely [...]

11 11, 2019

An excellent history of ancient Israel

By |2019-11-11T05:22:16-07:00November 11th, 2019|Book Reviews|

Alex Israel’s new book on II Kings follows his book on the first half of the book of Kings, called I Kings. Both are excellent, easy to read, very thorough, very informative. The Book of Kings was broken into two parts because the Greek translation of the book around 200 BCE divided the book in [...]

8 11, 2019

Was Isaac angry that Abraham tried to kill him?

By |2019-11-08T10:36:18-07:00November 8th, 2019|Thoughts|

Many people are convinced that Isaac was angry with his father Abraham because he lied to him when he said that the two were going on a trip to offer a sacrifice to God, implying that the sacrifice would be an animal, and that Abraham tied him up on top of a stone altar, planned [...]

5 11, 2019

Mistaken ideas about Abraham

By |2019-11-05T05:57:50-07:00November 5th, 2019|Jewish Books|

Some rabbinical imaginative notions about Abraham Many claims are made about Abraham, most likely to enhance his stature, reputation, distinction, and prestige. Perhaps also because it was felt that Abraham must have had some kind of relationship with God before he was 75 years old. None of these views are even hinted in the Torah. [...]

1 11, 2019

Noah’s Flood teaches us how to understand the Bible

By |2019-11-01T06:57:49-07:00November 1st, 2019|Jewish Books|

The biblical story of the flood during the days of Noah raises many questions, but the answers help us to understand how to interpret biblical events.   Some of the questions are: Why were different divine punishments done in very different ways. For example, Cain was banished in Genesis 4:12 for murdering his brother Abel; [...]

27 10, 2019

What is the origin of the Oral Torah?

By |2019-10-27T01:17:23-07:00October 27th, 2019|Thoughts|

Many people think that the Oral Torah was given to Moses on Mount Sinai. Many rabbis preach this view despite it being untrue to encourage Jews to obey the Oral Torah teachings believing that God ordered them to do so. Actually, the Oral Torah was developed by the Pharisees and later rabbis. The Pharisees made [...]

23 10, 2019

Some questions about Cain and Abel

By |2019-10-23T22:19:22-07:00October 23rd, 2019|Thoughts|

Who was the better person, Cain or Abel? It is possible to see the tale of Cain and Abel in a different light. Cain became a farmer. This is very difficult work. Abel opted to be a shepherd, arguably a lazy activity. Why does the Bible seem to prefer Abel? Why did Abel think that [...]

19 10, 2019

A startling example of an inability to learn from history

By |2019-10-19T23:19:36-07:00October 19th, 2019|Jewish Books|

History repeats itself mostly because people fail to learn from the terrible consequences that occurred following the foolish acts of the past. The Bible tells us about the supposed wisdom of King Solomon. In my book “The Authentic King Solomon,” I show that actually, scripture is demonstrating that the king was not as smart as [...]

17 10, 2019

Rosh Chodesh is not observed as the Torah commands

By |2019-10-17T05:11:33-07:00October 17th, 2019|Thoughts|

Like all other biblical holidays, Rosh Chodesh is not observed today as required by biblical law. This is because of changed social circumstances and because the principle element of the biblical worship was animal sacrifices, which was discontinued after the Romans destroyed the Jewish Second Temple in 70 CE. Additionally, the name of the celebration [...]

14 10, 2019

Four misunderstood discontinued Jewish institutions

By |2019-10-14T23:52:29-07:00October 14th, 2019|Thoughts|

There are many disagreements about four ancient Jewish institutions: the Sanhedrin, the Men of the Great Assembly, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees. Put differently, no one knows the truth about these institutions, even though that for many Jews, the subject is profoundly important.   Sanhedrin Jewish tradition supposes that the institution of the Sanhedrin began [...]

13 10, 2019

Difficulties and explanations regarding Kohelet

By |2019-10-13T00:07:47-07:00October 13th, 2019|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Tradition mandates that Jews should read the biblical book Kohelet, also spelt Koheleth and Qohelet, called Ecclesiastes in English, during the holiday of Sukkot. Both the Hebrew and English names mean “collector” or “collection.” We do not know why this mandate was made. Some say that since Sukkot is a very happy holiday, we need [...]