11 01, 2022

Addressing why good people suffer

By |2022-01-11T13:40:01-07:00January 11th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Rabbi Dovid Sapirman, the author of Tranquility and Travail, is a Haredi rabbi. Many Haredi Jews are very conservative and have more fundamental ideas than other Jews. One of Rabbi Sapirman’s views, which many non-Haredi Jews do accept is that God is involved with matters here on earth, and that God knows the details of [...]

10 01, 2022

How Jesus Became God

By |2022-01-11T13:42:20-07:00January 10th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  How Jesus became God by Dr. Bart D. Ehrman is an excellent, comprehensive, easy to read history about the begining of Christianity by a man who was once a very conservative Christian, who is now an agnostic, but who offers readers a non-dogmatic, respectful, historical examination of early Christianity. His ultimate goal in this [...]

27 12, 2021

What we don’t know about Judah – Part Two

By |2021-12-27T07:17:23-07:00December 27th, 2021|Thoughts|

      In Part One, we mentioned the question why Judah’s family merited according to tradition having the messiah come from them and obscurities in the Torah in Genesis 37 and 38. This is a continuation.   Chapter 39 resumes the Joseph story after telling us about Judah in chapter 38. Briefly told, he becomes [...]

26 12, 2021

What we don’t know about Judah – Part One

By |2021-12-26T12:58:37-07:00December 26th, 2021|Thoughts|

    The unclear stories about Judah are significant because Jewish and Christian theology contend that the messiah will be a descendant of this fourth son of Jacob. What if anything did Judah do to merit this distinction? We will address this question and point out many obscurities in Genesis 37 and 38. We will [...]

19 12, 2021

Jewish Ethics is preferred over Jewish Law

By |2021-12-19T06:12:57-07:00December 19th, 2021|Jewish Books|

    Most people, Jews and non-Jews, think that Judaism prefers that Jews observe Jewish Law, called halakha, rather than ethics, and if the two come in conflict the Jew must follow the halakha. Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn shows in his excellent easy to understand book “To be a Holy People: Jewish Tradition and Ethical [...]

2 12, 2021

What we don’t know about God’s behavior

By |2021-12-02T13:14:42-07:00December 2nd, 2021|Thoughts|

    Many people, if not most of them, are convinced that they know quite a lot about God and the people mentioned in the Bible. They would be surprised and some even angry to discover that most if not all that the Bible states about them is obscure. It clearly wants us to think [...]

1 12, 2021

What we don’t know about God’s names

By |2021-12-01T07:12:02-07:00December 1st, 2021|Thoughts|

  Most people do not attempt to define words, even words they use daily, such as religion, spirituality, and the various words used to describe God. As a result, they usually have only misconceptions about God. The following are some words used to describe God in Judaism.   God: The origin of the modern English [...]

30 11, 2021

The Cain v. Abel Trial

By |2021-11-30T10:01:38-07:00November 30th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Rabbi Dr. Dan Ornstein has just written an easy to read Jewish courtroom drama “Cain v. Abel” that is interesting, thoughtful, eye-opening, and thought-provoking based on the rather short close to two dozen biblical sentences in Genesis 4 that report the fraternal murder of Abel by his brother Cain. He includes the rather exiting imaginative [...]

22 11, 2021

What we don’t know about Adam and Eve

By |2021-11-22T08:38:06-07:00November 22nd, 2021|Thoughts|

    The very introduction to the Bible is obscure. We would have expected the introduction to tell us why God created the world and what God expects from humans, a problem that bothered the famous Bible commentator Rashi (1040-1105), but instead chapters 1 and 2 and other parts of the Bible are obscure, as [...]

18 11, 2021

What we don’t know about Rebekah, Isaac’s wife

By |2021-11-18T15:48:52-07:00November 18th, 2021|Thoughts|

    As with all of the prior men and women mentioned in the Bible, including Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, patriarchs whom we might expect that the Torah would give us plenty of information about them, there is nothing about Isaac’s wife Rebekah that is crystal clear. Every fact and every event is obscure. The [...]

10 11, 2021

The story of Noah and divine punishment

By |2021-11-10T10:04:51-07:00November 10th, 2021|Thoughts|

    The biblical story of the flood during the days of Noah raises many questions especially about divine punishments, and the answers help us to understand how to interpret biblical events. Some of the questions are: Why did divine punishments vary in delivery? Some examples are as follows: Cain’s banishment in Genesis 4:12 for the [...]

8 11, 2021

What do we know about Isaac, the second patriarch?

By |2021-11-08T04:58:39-07:00November 8th, 2021|Thoughts|

     Virtually all, if not all that we are told about Isaac is obscure, as with Abraham and Jacob. The Torah leaves out explanations for behaviors, leaving it to us to imagine what occurred and to derive meaning from our own ideas. The following are some examples of opaque events.   Is there meaning [...]

1 11, 2021

What do we know about Lot, Abraham’s nephew?

By |2021-11-01T13:52:16-07:00November 1st, 2021|Thoughts|

  A careful analysis of Abraham’s nephew Lot raises the question of whether or not he was a righteous man. What did he do to merit saving when the people among whom he lived died by fire?  We may think we know about him, but actually virtually everything the Torah tells us about him is [...]

29 10, 2021

What do we know about Abraham?

By |2021-10-29T05:13:02-07:00October 29th, 2021|Jewish Books|

    Most people think they know a lot about Abraham the father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. They are mistaken. The events recorded about Abraham in scripture are generally if not always obscure. When the Bible does not clarify exactly what is happening, people tend to imagine details and come to think of them [...]

18 10, 2021

The Life and Times of Rabbi Judah the Prince

By |2021-10-18T05:20:06-07:00October 18th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    Using many sources, including hundreds of anecdotes, former US Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (1985-1987) and Under Secretary of Defense (2001-2004) Rabbi Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, author of Nehemiah: Statesman and Sage (Maggid Books, 2016), gives us a very informative and riveting, easy to read biography of one of the most important figures [...]

14 10, 2021

The Legacy of Hannah Senesh

By |2021-10-14T11:07:14-07:00October 14th, 2021|Thoughts|

I saw the film “Hannah’s War” about the heroine and martyr Hannah Senesh on TV. I feel that it is a film everyone should see. It is very moving. Hannah Senesh is one of Israel's most important heroines. She was born on July 17, 1921 in Budapest, Hungary, and died on November 7, 1944 in [...]

13 10, 2021

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’ Legacy

By |2021-10-13T06:10:57-07:00October 13th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    One of the most lamentable recent event was the death of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who was born in 1948 and died on November 7, 2020. He was a British Orthodox rabbi, philosopher, theologian, award-winning author, an international religious leader, respected moral voice, and public figure. He served as the Chief Rabbi of [...]

12 10, 2021

Aldous Huxley’s idea of a utopia

By |2021-10-12T13:40:53-07:00October 12th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  After reading Aldous Huxley’s dystopian classic “Brave New World,” a book that described a nation which adopted behaviors that destroyed the freedom of its inhabitants by placing them under multiple controls and which hindered their opportunity to develop by engineering their births, and reading Huxley’s follow-up book “Brave New World Revisited” where he described [...]

8 10, 2021

Maimonides’ Hidden Torah Commentary to Deuteronomy

By |2021-10-08T07:12:14-07:00October 8th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

                                               Rabbi Dr, Michael Leo Samuel is one of the top world experts on Maimonides and Philo. His books on both philosophers are filled with easy to read information that will open the eyes and minds of readers. Maimonides’ Hidden Torah Commentary to Deuteronomy is the final book of Rabbi Samuel’s series on Maimonides’ [...]

6 10, 2021

Noah, the second Adam

By |2021-10-06T12:45:04-07:00October 6th, 2021|Thoughts|

    There is a remarkable similarity between Noah and Adam that should prompt us to think and understand each of the two biblical figure in a deeper manner. The following are some of the similarities. Both were the fathers of all future generations. Their names indicated their character. Adam, which derives from the word [...]

3 10, 2021

An Analysis of Brave New World

By |2021-10-03T12:17:49-07:00October 3rd, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

After I reviewed Animal Farm and 1984, a friend wrote to me telling me his opinion that Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World was a better book than George Orwell’s 1984. I was surprised that I hadn’t read Brave New World. I got a copy of it along with Huxley’s Brave New World Revisited and found [...]

1 10, 2021

Years in Genesis

By |2021-10-01T07:03:08-07:00October 1st, 2021|Thoughts|

  Many Jews feel that biblical time frames and dating were never meant to be taken literally. The Bible is not a history book. It is designed to teach about the existence of God and proper behavior. The world may have been created over a very long period of time, humans may not have appeared [...]

26 09, 2021

Maimonides’ Hidden Torah Commentary, Leviticus

By |2021-09-26T04:43:21-07:00September 26th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

                                                                Rabbi Dr. Michael Leo Samuel, author of Maimonides’ Hidden Torah Commentary, Leviticus, has made a significant contribution to posterity by writing this beautiful book and bringing the thinking of Maimonides and many dozens of others, ancient and modern, Jewish and non-Jewish, rational and mystic, to his readers. Among many other sources, he focuses [...]

20 09, 2021

Are there anti-Orthodox views in Ecclesiastes?

By |2021-09-20T09:55:48-07:00September 20th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    Kohelet, also spelt Qohelet, Ecclesiastes in Greek and now English, is read during the holiday of Sukkot. We do not know why this book was chosen from among the books of the Bible called The Writings. A popular explanation is that Sukkot is a happy holiday and Ecclesiastes is read to add a [...]

19 09, 2021

Questions about Sukkot

By |2021-09-19T14:34:48-07:00September 19th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  Rabbi Abraham Chill (1912-2004) gives readers of his book “The Minhagim,” Hebrew for customs and ceremonies, a very readable discussion of many Jewish practices, focusing on 27 holidays and events: synagogue, Shabbat, Rosh Hodesh, Yom Kippur, Passover, Shavuot, Tisha B’Av, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, Hanukkah, Tu B’Shevat, Purim, marriage, birth, pidyin haben, bar mitzvah, tallit [...]

13 09, 2021

Maimonides’ Hidden Torah Commentary

By |2021-09-13T05:56:53-07:00September 13th, 2021|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  “Maimonides’ Hidden Torah Commentary on Exodus 22-40” is a very informative book. Rabbi Dr. Michael Leo Samuel has made a significant contribution to posterity by writing it and bringing to his readers the thinking of Maimonides and many dozens of others, ancient and modern, Jewish and non-Jewish, rational and mystic. This volume follows his [...]