24 04, 2024

The Year Passover Died

By |2024-04-24T09:35:42-07:00April 24th, 2024|Jewish Books|

      The biblical holiday Passover, a significant event in Jewish history, disappeared entirely when the Romans destroyed the temple in 70 CE. This cataclysmic event marked the end of an era and led to a significant shift in religious practices. However, its name, Passover, was resurrected and given to the holiday Chag Hamatzot, [...]

22 04, 2024

A superb review from my friend

By |2024-04-22T12:19:09-07:00April 22nd, 2024|Jewish Books|

    A Visit To Elijah I read this book, "Becoming Elijah: Prophet of Transformation" (2022) in preparation for Passover. As the book points out, most Jews know Elijah primarily through experiences of the seder, in which the door is opened and a cup of wine offered to Elijah, usually near the conclusion of the [...]

18 04, 2024

Aristotle and Maimonides on the issue of the eternity of matter vs. creation out of nothing

By |2024-04-18T08:31:18-07:00April 18th, 2024|Jewish Books|

Our friend Turk Hill requested that I give my opinion on the subject matter. Here it is. There is disagreement among scholars on whether Maimonides accepted Aristotle's view that matter existed eternally. Some say he agreed with Aristotle and others that he disagreed. I favor the view that he agreed with Aristotle. Or, possibly felt [...]

15 04, 2024

Why was the first Passover different from all other Passovers?

By |2024-04-15T08:16:50-07:00April 15th, 2024|Jewish Books|

  The first Passover is a unique event celebrated by the Israelites in Egypt just before their exodus. It is described in Exodus 12:1-11. It stands out from the subsequent Passovers mandated by the Torah.   Exodus 12, which describes the Egyptian ceremony, raises many questions. (1) Why does the Torah command that “this month,” [...]

11 04, 2024

How to become wealthy

By |2024-04-11T05:01:38-07:00April 11th, 2024|Jewish Books|

   Our friend Steve asked how he should prepare for his retirement. I decided to put my secret on this website for him and the rest of my readers. My wife Dina and I married 64 years ago, in 1960. At that time, I was a First Lieutenant in the US Army, earning $2000 a [...]

8 04, 2024

A very instructive Haggadah

By |2024-04-08T06:59:48-07:00April 8th, 2024|Jewish Books|

  Empowering Seder Conversations Passover Haggadah Leora Ashman et al. Urim Publications, Jerusalem. New York 128 pages, 20124 978-965-524-370-3                                                                         [...]

4 04, 2024

A new superb Haggada

By |2024-04-04T07:27:18-07:00April 4th, 2024|Jewish Books|

       Maggid Books’ 2024, “The Promise of Liberty, A Passover Haggada,” is superb. It tells the story of the Israelite exodus from Egyptian slavery over 3,300 years ago and reveals the many lessons applicable today, especially what freedom means in Judaism and America. Unbeknownst to many, the Sidur, the daily prayer book, Machzor, [...]

2 04, 2024

Review of movie “Joseph and His Brethren”

By |2024-04-02T07:32:33-07:00April 2nd, 2024|Jewish Books|

       This is an excellent film, but it has a severe problem. I have seen many movies where screenwriters insist, or imply, that it is based on the biblical story. This 2005 film, “Joseph and His Brethren,” wins the prize, if you can call it that. It is the first movie of its [...]

31 03, 2024

Review of the movie “Solomon”

By |2024-03-31T08:19:35-07:00March 31st, 2024|Jewish Books|

   The acting, dialogue, scenery, and drama in the 1997 movie “Solomon” are excellent and enjoyable. However, the only way it matches what the Bible states is that despite the claim that Solomon was very wise, a close reading of the biblical text reveals that he did virtually everything wrong. Of course, few things were [...]

27 03, 2024

A good commentary on Leviticus

By |2024-03-27T04:50:22-07:00March 27th, 2024|Jewish Books|

  In this third excellent volume of Rabbi David Fohrman’s Parasha Companion series, “Leviticus,” which follows Genesis and Exodus, the rabbi raises interesting questions, offers possible answers, makes the biblical book Leviticus meaningful, and causes us to think. Without the rabbi’s help, Leviticus is difficult to understand and relate to the modern age. Rabbi Fohrman [...]

25 03, 2024

A possible solution why there is evil

By |2024-03-25T09:18:59-07:00March 25th, 2024|Jewish Books|

  I will explain why there is evil in this world. God did what is sensible. The world is, as the Hebrew Bible states, “Good.” It gives people free will. Humans cause evil in three ways.   The world is created with duality Opposites are generally two sides of the same thing. For example, love [...]

19 03, 2024

Is the biblical Book of Esther a parable?

By |2024-03-19T07:23:30-07:00March 19th, 2024|Jewish Books|

    Our friend and reader of Booksnthoughts.com asked a good question: Is the Purim story a parable? “What is the significance that Esther is a Persian name? Did Esther really exist or is she a fictional character?” I thought all of our readers would be interested in the answer. Therefore, I am writing the [...]

18 03, 2024

The Secret of the Book of Esther

By |2024-03-18T06:03:35-07:00March 18th, 2024|Jewish Books|

    The Holiday of Purim occurs in 2024 on the eve of March 23 to the eve of the 24th. Tradition tells Jews to read the biblical book Esther during the first evening and the next morning services. Why should we read it?   The Book of Esther is one of the twenty-four books [...]

11 03, 2024

Thoughts prompted by the Tabernacle in Portion Pekudei

By |2024-03-11T06:30:26-07:00March 11th, 2024|Jewish Books|

                                                                          The Accounting   The opening words of the weekly Torah reading Prkudei (Exodus 38:21-40:38) state that an accounting was given of the precious metals used in the construction of the Tabernacle, the name given to the desert Temple during the days of Moses. There is no command [...]

3 03, 2024

A fascinating and informative examination of 35 Aesop Fables

By |2024-03-03T09:36:23-07:00March 3rd, 2024|Jewish Books|

  People will enjoy Rabbi Dr. Michael Leo Samuel’s brilliant, enlightening, and fascinating “Of Lions, Mice & Menorahs: A Jewish Look at Aesop’s Fables.” Samuel retells thirty-five Aesop Tales, informs us who Aesop was, describes the ancient sources, tells us that they were first introduced to teach adults, why they are treasures for all ages, [...]

25 02, 2024

The Crowd Instinct and Power

By |2024-02-25T13:54:25-07:00February 25th, 2024|Jewish Books|

  Elias Canetti (1905-1994) was a Jewish German-language writer born in Ruse, Bulgaria. His family moved to England, where his father died in 1912. His mother took their three sons back to Europe and settled in Vienna. In 1981, her son Elias was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for “writings marked by a broad outlook, [...]

19 02, 2024

Rashi: Marvelous but Irrational

By |2024-02-19T06:57:01-07:00February 19th, 2024|Jewish Books|

  While Rashi is the favorite Bible commentator for many people, they know virtually nothing about him. People also fail to realize that Rashi generally does not reveal the true intent of the Bible text. All we know about Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak known as Rashi from Troyes, France, are his writings. We know no [...]

16 02, 2024

Ethical behaviors concerning shoes

By |2024-02-16T07:09:20-07:00February 16th, 2024|Jewish Books|

  Many cultures and religions have laws or practices requiring people to remove their shoes on certain occasions. Moses was commanded in Exodus 3:5 and Joshua in Joshua 5:15 to remove their shoes when Moses had a revelation from God at a burning bush, and Joshua received instructions from an angel. Priests who were descendants [...]

11 02, 2024

Daniel Sperber’s superb new book

By |2024-02-11T08:01:56-07:00February 11th, 2024|Jewish Books|

                                               Daniel Sperber’s 2024 latest book, published by Urim Publications, “Vegetarianism, Ecology, and Business Ethics,” is superb. Everyone should read it. The book has three essays focusing on Judaic insights into contemporary concerns. [...]

8 02, 2024

Ethics of Our Fathers

By |2024-02-08T08:06:43-07:00February 8th, 2024|Jewish Books|

  At the end of his very informative book, Ethics of Our Fighters, Rabbi Dr. Shlomo M. Brody quotes General Omar Bradley's November 1948 observation, "The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants." Brody comments that much has changed since 1948, "yet I [...]

5 02, 2024

Some facts about the Torah and Its laws

By |2024-02-05T10:25:10-07:00February 5th, 2024|Jewish Books|

   The weekly portion of Mishpatim, Exodus 21-1-24:1, begins with laws concerning an eved ivri, translated “Hebrew Slave.” But the term is not explained. It continues with laws when a man sells his daughter as a slave, a death sentence to a person who kills another, the law of an accidental killing, the rule that [...]

28 01, 2024

My list of three basic principles of Judaism

By |2024-01-28T07:45:35-07:00January 28th, 2024|Jewish Books|

    Many Jewish sages offered their list of what they considered the basic principles of Judaism. Maimonides lists thirteen. However, other significant rabbis had a different list. For example, Shem Tov ben Joseph Falaquera (c. 1220–1290) identifies seven principles in one of his books and six in another – although his thirteen do not [...]

22 01, 2024

Two Torah Messages Many Miss

By |2024-01-22T09:09:13-07:00January 22nd, 2024|Jewish Books|

  Many people recognize that the Five Books of Moses, the Torah, contain multiple examples of behaviors we should learn and emulate. However, they fail to notice that every person mentioned in the Torah has misbehaved, and they agonize over misbehaving children. For instance:   Even the best humans misbehave The Torah criticizes Adam and [...]

17 01, 2024

Is reincarnation a fact, a lie, or true

By |2024-01-18T07:20:56-07:00January 17th, 2024|Jewish Books|

    Many people are convinced that reincarnation, called gilgul in Hebrew, has been accepted as a fact since ancient times. Reincarnation is the belief that when people die they are transported into a new body in another life. This is not true about Judaism. Gilgul entered Judaism for some mystical-minded Jews only in the [...]

15 01, 2024

The Weekly Biblical Portion Bo

By |2024-01-15T07:51:05-07:00January 15th, 2024|Jewish Books|

  The Plague of Darkness (Chapter 10:21–29) Two significant issues merit our attention from the Torah’s description of the ninth plague, the plague of darkness. The first deals with the statement that the darkness was so thick that people couldn’t see each other (Exodus 10:23). The Hebrew original is “a man was unable to see [...]

3 01, 2024

The truth about the untrue “since creation calendar”

By |2024-01-03T09:06:48-07:00January 3rd, 2024|Jewish Books|

       Many people, secular and religious, of different cultures and worldviews have attempted to calculate the age of the world. There is no agreement between them simply because it is an impossible task. Christians,[1] Muslims, and Jews have tried to do the calculation based on a literal reading of the Bible and have [...]

2 01, 2024

The Biblical Weekly Portion Shemot

By |2024-01-02T10:08:05-07:00January 2nd, 2024|Jewish Books|

    The book of Exodus raises many interesting questions. These questions deepen our understanding of the Bible and life in general.   The Beginning of Israel’s Slavery (Chapters 1 and 2) Exodus starts by stating that after Joseph and his generation died, and their descendants multiplied exceedingly, “a new king arose who did not [...]

1 01, 2024

The Current Calendar

By |2024-01-01T09:23:08-07:00January 1st, 2024|Jewish Books|

  I am writing this on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2024. The calculation that led to this year being 2024 is the most famous Christian version. It was not invented until 525 AD. AD was used in the past and means “The Year of the Lord” (Jesus) in English. BC was used to indicate [...]

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