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 [...]

25 01, 2023

Thoughts on the Biblical Portion Bo

By |2023-01-25T06:20:02-07:00January 25th, 2023|Jewish Books|

The third parasha in Exodus, Bo, frequently mistranslated as “go,” despite meaning “come,” tell the last three of the ten plagues, God gives the Israelites the first of the 613 commandments concerning the Jewish calendar, a law that seems to be crystal clear, but Jewish tradition treated it as obscure and not mean what it [...]

18 01, 2023

Abiguities in the weekly biblical portion Va-ayra

By |2023-01-18T14:15:21-07:00January 18th, 2023|Jewish Books|

   Exodus 6:2-9:35   The second parasha in Exodus is called Va-ayra, meaning “And I appeared.” It is the first word in the second verse of the portion. As usual, the rabbis called the Bible books and portions after the first significant word, in this instance, the ninth word in the parasha. When the five [...]

12 01, 2023

Obscurities in the Biblical Portion Shemot: Exodus 1:1-6:1

By |2023-01-12T09:46:38-07:00January 12th, 2023|Jewish Books|

Exodus begins to relate the events that followed Joseph's death. He was second in power to Pharaoh and could protect his family while alive. A new Pharaoh assumes the throne and enslaves the Israelites. We read of Moses’ birth and early life, that the new Pharaoh enslaved Joseph’s family, his and his brothers’ descendants, who [...]

9 01, 2023

The Biblical Book Job

By |2023-01-09T06:24:37-07:00January 9th, 2023|Jewish Books|

  The book Job is composed of three parts: a prologue, an epilogue, and the body of the tale. Many scholars are convinced that the prologue and epilogue are additions to the story’s original body. The two are different in tone and portray God in a radically distinctive manner that will disturb rational thinkers. The [...]

4 01, 2023

Was Maimonides a Deist?

By |2023-01-04T06:14:50-07:00January 4th, 2023|Jewish Books|

    Some people think that Maimonides was a deist. I am convinced that they are mistaken. There are some similarities between Maimonides and deists, just as there are similarities between Jews and Christians, but these similarities do not result in us calling Jews Christians.   This becomes clear when we realize there were many different [...]

28 12, 2022

A truthful parable

By |2022-12-28T14:30:39-07:00December 28th, 2022|Jewish Books|

  Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was the first Russian composer to be admired internationally because of the beauty of the melodies in his compositions. He is best known in the United States for the excitement in his 1812 Overture, composed in 1880 and played through the US on New Year's Eve. He wrote this last [...]

27 12, 2022

Chaim Grade’s superb book “The Well”

By |2022-12-27T08:00:28-07:00December 27th, 2022|Jewish Books|

  In my previous reviews of Chaim Grade’s books, I gave my opinion that Grade (1910-1982) should receive the Nobel Prize for literature. He was one of the leading Yiddish writers of the twentieth century. According to many, he was the best of an amazing group. His books are classics. I still feel this way. [...]

25 12, 2022

Days are Coming

By |2022-12-25T11:53:52-07:00December 25th, 2022|Jewish Books|

Maggid Books just published "Days are Coming" by Sivan Rahav-Meir, an easy-to-read, enjoyable, and inspiring book translated from Hebrew by Yehoshua Siskin. The book has many insightful ideas from sages, Bible commentators, and others regarding Jewish holidays, days following the holidays, and times when we remember people who taught us significant lessons that can improve [...]

15 12, 2022

Misconceptions about Hanukkah

By |2022-12-15T08:06:26-07:00December 15th, 2022|Jewish Books|

  Many people have wrong ideas about the Jewish holiday Hanukkah. The following are a few examples: Hanukkah does not celebrate a victory over the Greeks. The Greeks ruled many kingdoms due to Alexander the Great’s conquests, such as Egypt and Greece. Judea, the name Israel had at that time, was persecuted by the Syrians, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

28 07, 2021

Two floods: Gilgamesh and Noah

By |2021-07-28T11:18:38-07:00July 28th, 2021|Jewish Books|

The approximately 4,000 year old Babylonian tale "Gilgamesh" disturbs many religious people who feel threatened by the idea that a story that is very similar to the biblical flood story was written before the story of Noah and the flood. Gilgamesh was composed around 2000 B.C.E. and predates the scriptural version. A Jewish tradition dates [...]

8 10, 2020

A radical theory about Sukkot

By |2020-10-08T03:38:33-07:00October 8th, 2020|Jewish Books|

   People who pay attention to what they read realize that none of the Jewish holidays are practiced today as the Torah mandates. Judaism today is not Torah Judaism but Rabbinic Judaism. The rabbis made extensive changes in Torah laws because of changes in human circumstances. Scholars think that the holidays were originally folk harvest [...]

5 08, 2020

Should a Rabbi Make Lenient decisions?

By |2020-08-05T08:12:21-07:00August 5th, 2020|Book Reviews, Jewish Books, Thoughts|

  Rabbi Professor Dr. Daniel Sperber is a leading scholar of Jewish law and customs and the author of many books on these subjects. Citing many fascinating examples and the rulings of highly respected rabbis that often read like short stories, he shows that the view of ultra-Orthodox Jews that an ideal rabbi is a man [...]

28 05, 2020

Our Shavuot is not a biblical holiday

By |2020-05-28T07:57:40-07:00May 28th, 2020|Jewish Books|

The current observance of Shavuot has no relationship to its biblical ancestor and doesn’t even occur at the same time. Very few people know the truth about this day. Most Jews think Shavuot recalls the day the Torah was revealed to the Israelites during the days of Moses. This is not true. This significance was [...]

17 05, 2020

A strange reaction to the pandemic face mask

By |2020-05-17T14:31:43-07:00May 17th, 2020|Jewish Books|

My fiend the philosophy professor Dr. Raphi Jospe who was also one of the editors of the Jewish Encyclopedia sent me the following and said I can pass it along.   See what happens when American legislators don’t study medieval Jewish philosophy.  In the news: An Ohio state representative says he won't wear a mask [...]

16 04, 2020

The Remarkable Thinking of Maimonides

By |2020-04-16T04:42:02-07:00April 16th, 2020|Jewish Books|

Micah Goodman’s “Maimonides” This is an important book. The following are some major points in it. The quotes are from the book.   Maimonides’ God: Goodman states that Maimonides’ God is transcendental, meaning God is not involved in the daily activities of the world. God placed in the world the laws of nature, and then [...]

5 04, 2020

Nachmanides Unique View of the Passover Seder

By |2020-04-05T04:39:15-07:00April 5th, 2020|Jewish Books, Thoughts|

Some may say that the mystic Nachmanides (1194-1270) was more interested in heaven than earth. Unlike Maimonides (1138-1204), who focused on a scientific study of the world, Nachmanides was concerned with the way in which Jews interact with God. Maimonides’ view led him to see three people-oriented purposes for the 613 biblical commandments. In his [...]

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 [...]

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.  [...]

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; [...]