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6 10, 2022

The Unknown English Torah Commentator Marcus M. Kalisch

By |2022-10-06T08:25:10-07:00October 6th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  The Rabbi and scholar Rabbi Dr. Michael Leo Samuel has made a significant contribution to Jewish scholarship with his book “The Unknown English Torah Commentator Marcus M. Kalisch,” the first in a series of books introducing readers to the thinking and teachings of Marcus M. Kalisch. This first volume focuses on the first half [...]

3 10, 2022

Questions about Sukkot

By |2022-10-03T10:28:08-07:00October 3rd, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  Judaism has dozens of meaningful customs and ceremonies, but most people, even Jews, do not know all of them, their origins and their rationale. 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. He focuses on 27 holidays and events: [...]

25 09, 2022

The Sacred and the Profane

By |2022-09-25T08:08:40-07:00September 25th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  “The Sacred and the Profane’ contains three excellent novellas by Chaim Grade translated from the original Yiddish by Harold Rabinowitz and Inna Hecker Grade, Chaim Grade’s second wife, whom he married sometime after the Nazis murdered his first wife and his mother along with six million other Jews. The Yiddish name was Kloyz un [...]

19 09, 2022

Yom Kippur is not a Biblical Holiday

By |2022-09-19T07:07:34-07:00September 19th, 2022|Thoughts|

   As with Rosh Hashanah, Orthodox Jews like me recognize that Yom Kippur is not mentioned in the Bible. It replaces another day known as Yom Hakippurim, mentioned in the Bible in Leviticus 16:29–31, 23:27–32, and Numbers 29:7–11. Orthodox Jews follow the Oral Law, the ways that the rabbis interpreted the Torah. This can be [...]

15 09, 2022

Rosh Hashanah is not a biblical holiday

By |2022-09-15T07:33:13-07:00September 15th, 2022|Thoughts|

    I am an Orthodox Jew. Orthodox Judaism recognizes that Judaism today is Rabbinical Judaism. It is based on what is called the Oral Law, the rabbinical interpretation of the Bible. For example, the Oral Law teaches that “an eye for an eye” should not be taken literally; it means monetary compensation.   Rosh [...]

14 09, 2022

Another John Ajvide Lindqvist horror film

By |2022-09-14T07:52:10-07:00September 14th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

     After reading and reviewing the Swede, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s splendid book "Let the Old Dreams Die" and viewing his film “Border,” I decided to watch his first 2008 film “Let the Right One In.” The movie is in Swedish, as is “Border,” with easy-to-follow caption translations. It is based on his first 2004 [...]

11 09, 2022

An excellent writer of horror tales

By |2022-09-11T04:26:32-07:00September 11th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

I found a writer I did not know and enjoyed his writing.  The Swede, John Ajvide Lindqvist (born 1968), is a splendid writer, both his novels and short stories. He can write in a fashion that others cannot do. "Let the Old Dreams Die" is an example. It is a beautiful book. The book has [...]

7 09, 2022

Chaim Grade’s “My Mother’s Sabbath Days”

By |2022-09-07T07:02:01-07:00September 7th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    “My Mother’s Sabbath Days” is a beautiful, fascinating, and eye-opening story by the Yiddish writer Chaim Grade (1910-1982). His name is pronounced gra, as in open your mouth and say ah, and de at the end pronounced as in eh, the word said in surprise. Grade in German and Yiddish means “straight.” Since [...]

1 09, 2022

Is Judaism the Truth?

By |2022-09-01T07:03:52-07:00September 1st, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  Jeffry Bloom, a graduate of the University of Chicago who studied in several Orthodox yeshivas (rabbinical schools) in Israel after college, was bothered by what the scholar Leo Strauss wrote in his book Spinoza’s Critique of Religion.[1] Strauss emigrated from Germany to the United States in the 1930s. He taught at the University of [...]

30 08, 2022

The importance of Selihot

By |2022-08-30T07:48:41-07:00August 30th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    The comprehensive 1229-page "Koren Selihot Minhag Lita, Hebrew and English Edition" contains a wealth of information about many aspects of Judaism. Since reciting Selihot is done before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and is a significant, often repeated part of the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, and these holidays teach essential lessons, [...]

22 08, 2022

What we should read and why

By |2022-08-22T06:44:47-07:00August 22nd, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Virginia Woolf’s principal suggestion in her excellent essay “How Should One Read a Book” is to try to understand what point or points the author wants to make and enjoy what you are reading. She adds a clever idea that God is jealous of humanity because humans can get enjoyment from reading, while God cannot [...]

17 08, 2022

This book is better than Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer

By |2022-08-18T03:28:28-07:00August 17th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    Although virtually all readers of Tom Sawyer did not live or think as Tom, they enjoyed and still enjoy his adventures, Mark Twain's sterling writing, his humor, and insights. The same applies to Levi Welton's magnificent memoir, “Be Like the Moon.” Welton's book does this and more. In 1979, the US Army called [...]

2 08, 2022

Obscure Items in the Bible

By |2022-08-02T11:40:16-07:00August 2nd, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  I enjoyed "The Old Testament and the Truth" by S. Seth Haas. His book deserves five stars. I did not agree with all of Haas's conclusions from his study of the Five Books of Moses.  But this did not detract from my enjoyment. I found, as his readers will, that whether I agreed or [...]

1 08, 2022

May we condemn God?

By |2022-08-01T04:41:17-07:00August 1st, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

I enjoyed the poetry book "Brought Down" by Simon Constam. It is both delightful to read and thought-provoking. The phrase “brought down” is a literal translation of Yiddish, Hebrew, and Aramaic terms suggesting an ancient Jewish idea or teaching being recalled. The thirty poems are easy to read. The images created by the poetry are [...]

27 07, 2022

A horrible rabbinical mistake!

By |2022-07-27T06:27:36-07:00July 27th, 2022|Thoughts|

                                    The mistreatment by too-many rabbis of women is inexcusable. Many alterations were made in biblical marriage and divorce laws, but not for agunot.   The Hebrew Bible gives few details about marriage and divorce. Deuteronomy 24:1 states: “If a man takes [yikach] a wife and has sex with her, but she becomes displeasing [...]

19 07, 2022

A Brilliant Story

By |2022-07-19T12:48:21-07:00July 19th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

     I am convinced that people could learn much from non-religious writings, even some, but not all, crime novels. Thus, my desire to increase my knowledge is why I still read more than a hundred fictional non-religious books annually, in addition to my studies of biblical commentaries. I will give an example of one [...]

13 07, 2022

Several Outrageous Mistakes

By |2022-07-13T04:14:25-07:00July 13th, 2022|Thoughts|

    The greatest mistake is the belief that mistakes are rare. This is untrue. We all make mistakes and do so frequently. Here are a few involving our thinking. The concept of BC and AD was apparently invented by a monk around the year 533 who thought Jesus was born 533 years before the [...]

7 07, 2022

What we don’t know about Sodom and Gomorrah

By |2022-07-07T07:14:03-07:00July 7th, 2022|Thoughts|

  The destruction of the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, and neighboring towns is a well-known tale filled with obscurities that people often fail to notice. When they do, they stop thinking about the story and fail to learn from it. Here are some of the many obscurities. Was the destruction of the cities a natural event or [...]

30 06, 2022

A Must See Movie!

By |2022-06-30T07:53:41-07:00June 30th, 2022|Thoughts|

The movie "Ben is Back" is about drug addiction. It is excellent. The acting by both Julia Roberts as a mother of a drug addict son who she loves unconditionally and Lucas Hedges as the 19-year-old son is also excellent. The film shows the dreadful destructive effects of drug addiction. Parents should acquire it and [...]

26 06, 2022

What many do not know about Bible chapters

By |2022-06-26T06:12:00-07:00June 26th, 2022|Thoughts|

    Whatever one believes, it is widely agreed upon that God did not divide the Bible into sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. So what happened to make the reading and understanding of the Bible easier?   Masorites The division between sentences and paragraphs as well as punctuation signs were initiated by a group of people [...]

20 06, 2022

The Plot to Save America

By |2022-06-20T06:23:56-07:00June 20th, 2022|Book Reviews|

  "The Plot to Save America" by Avraham Azrieli, a lawyer, is another brilliant novel by an author who wrote other suspenseful, interesting, and very enjoyable novels. The book contains two main plots. Most startling and fascinating is the idea that followers of President Trump were able to turn the 2020 election results so that [...]

10 06, 2022

What do we know about Dinah?

By |2022-06-10T08:31:42-07:00June 10th, 2022|Thoughts|

  Aside from the terrible tale of the kidnapping and apparent rape of Jacob’s daughter Dinah in the biblical book Genesis, we know very little about Dinah other than the usual obscurities which the Torah does not explain, which prompt us to think of what is happening and why, some of which we list below. [...]

18 05, 2022

An Orthodox Jewish female professor explains the New Testament

By |2022-05-18T07:38:56-07:00May 18th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  Amy-Jill Levine tells us why Jesus's teachings in the New Testament, can be seen to be sensible and acceptable to people of all religions, even Orthodox Jews, even Jewish women like her who attends an Orthodox synagogue and sits behind a segregated mechitza, separation, for women. She does so for teachings she considers authentic, [...]

12 05, 2022

Halachic advice for women

By |2022-05-12T08:20:50-07:00May 12th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Yoatzot Halacha, an organization that is Advisors of the Law, has published this 376 page book Nishmat Habayit, The Soul of the Home, by Maggid Books, Nishmat, and OU Press. It contains a collection of 63 common questions that Yoatzot Halacha have been asked. The goal of the book "on taharat ha-mishpahah [is] fortifying the [...]

28 04, 2022

Centuries of Despicable Behavior against Jews

By |2022-04-28T07:32:44-07:00April 28th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

    Dr. Emily Michelson, senior lecturer in history at the University of St. Andrews, describes the over two and a half centuries when the Roman Catholic Church in Rome, Italy, forced Rome’s Jews to attend weekly hostile sermons. The Church’s aim was to convert the Jews to the Catholic faith. In the easy to [...]

14 04, 2022

Are Jesus’ parables Jewish?

By |2022-04-14T08:22:41-07:00April 14th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  The renowned Jewish scholar Dr. Amy-Jill Levine tells us the truth about the parables associated with Jesus in her “Short Stories by Jesus.” It is an excellent, eye-opening, and thought-provoking easy to read book. She is a University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, Department of Jewish Studies.   [...]

10 04, 2022

A new traditional Haggadah with photogrphs

By |2022-04-10T10:05:18-07:00April 10th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Passover, coming in the Spring with the reopening and budding of nature, not only recalls the beginning of the Jewish people when they left Egyptian slavery and went to the desert to learn laws and then to Israel and final freedom. It is also a time when Jewish law tells Jews to think about the [...]

8 04, 2022

Narrative of the Life of an American Slave

By |2022-04-08T11:36:57-07:00April 8th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

“Narrative of the Life of an American Slave” by Frederick Douglas, written in 1845 with a preface by Wendell Phillips is a brilliant book by a brilliant former slave in Maryland that everyone should read. It is a short, easy to read report of Douglas' early life, something we should know. In addition to much [...]

4 04, 2022

To whom was the promised land promised?

By |2022-04-04T07:12:03-07:00April 4th, 2022|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

      Professor Abraham A. Sion, the author of “To whom was the Promised Land Promised?” this interesting, significant, and eye-opening book, knows the subject of the Israeli and Arab claims to the land of Israel better than most people. He served as Deputy State’s Attorney for Israel. He is Professor Emeritus at Ariel [...]