20 04, 2020

Good advice to help keep us safe

By |2020-04-20T06:33:51-07:00April 20th, 2020|Thoughts|

 Hessel Meleich sent me this list. Most are not on the list of other people.   Wash hands frequently with soap and water (20 seconds minimum time). This destroys the lipids on the surface of the virus. Keep a distance of at least 6 feet (one metre) away from another person Wear a mask and [...]

19 04, 2020

It helps these days to laugh

By |2020-04-19T04:31:32-07:00April 19th, 2020|Thoughts|

Where there's a will, I want to be in it. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it's still on my list. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong. We never really grow up, [...]

14 04, 2020

Hessel Meilech sent me this nice story

By |2020-04-14T06:33:40-07:00April 14th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

The Power of Lighting Shabbat Candles By Shula Bryski Two rabbinical students were sent under the direction of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, to the faraway Aleutian Islands, with the sole purpose of bringing the joy and light of Judaism to any Jews that lived there. After a week of searching, they found not [...]

12 04, 2020

Addressing Bible difficulties

By |2020-04-12T06:47:36-07:00April 12th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

It is only in recent times that Yeshivas (post-high-school religious schools) began again to teach Bible. The problem that the rabbis faced was that enlightenment scholars raised multiple questions about the Bible, questions that seemed to show that God did not write or inspire the Bible, but that it was composed by many different authors [...]

7 04, 2020

Why was the first Passover different from subsequent Passovers?

By |2020-04-07T07:31:24-07:00April 7th, 2020|Thoughts|

The following is an abbreviated version of what I wrote in my Mysteries of Judaism 1.   The Israelites’ first Passover, celebrated in Egypt just prior to the exodus and described in Exodus 12:1–11, was radically different from the Torah mandated holiday observed after the exodus. Exodus 12, which describes the Egyptian ceremony, raises many [...]

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 [...]

1 04, 2020

Our Passover is not the biblical Passover

By |2020-04-01T06:46:44-07:00April 1st, 2020|Thoughts|

The following is part of a chapter from my book Mysteries of Judaism 1 in which I explain that every Jewish holiday, without exception, differs with what the Bible mandates. In fact, several biblical holidays ceased to exist. Passover is one of them.   A dead holiday passed on its name Unlike Rosh Hashanah and [...]

1 04, 2020

Good jokes

By |2020-04-01T04:46:10-07:00April 1st, 2020|Thoughts|

My editor sent me the following good Corona virus jokes. Even in terrible times, we should keep up optimistic good humor. To go to the store, they said a mask and gloves were enough…they lied…everyone else had clothes on. 20 years ago, we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs.  Now we have no [...]

29 03, 2020

Demons and magic in the Passover Seder

By |2020-03-29T07:23:54-07:00March 29th, 2020|Thoughts|

There is probably no more meaningful and enjoyable service than the Passover Seder. The word “Seder” means “order.” The Seder service is arranged and celebrated in the Jewish home by the family to teach its participants about the message of the holiday: to recall the exodus from Egyptian slavery, and recognize the need for freedom [...]

22 03, 2020

The Life and Time of Hasdai Crescas

By |2020-03-22T07:42:44-07:00March 22nd, 2020|Thoughts|

One of the most tragic occurrences in Judaism’s long history is the frequent absorption of alien, often heathen and Christian notions. For example, many people do not realize that when they say “gosh almighty” they are speaking about the Christian Holy Ghost and when they say “bloody” they are talking about the blood of Jesus [...]

17 03, 2020

Yehuda Halevi’s Mistakes

By |2020-03-17T08:01:44-07:00March 17th, 2020|Thoughts|

Remarkably, although Yehuda Halevi’s well-known book is filled with illogical ideas, many Jews call the poet a philosopher and rabbi, although he was neither, and praise his book. I will show some of the illogical matters. The twelfth century Spanish poet Yehuda Halevi (1075 or 1086 to 1141) was well-respected during his lifetime. He is [...]

12 03, 2020

Why do Jews win so many Nobel prizes?

By |2020-03-12T05:05:14-07:00March 12th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

“The Super Achievers” by Ronald Gerstl reveals the remarkable disproportionate Jewish contributions to world knowledge of science and heath, and the surprisingly high number of Jewish Nobel Prize Winners in these fields. Although Jews are only 0.2% of the world’s population, Jews were awarded 24% of the Nobel Prizes in science and medicine. Similarly, while [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]