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 [...]

14 09, 2014

Nachmanides on Curses and Magic

By |2014-09-14T01:19:58-07:00September 14th, 2014|Thoughts|

                                                    Nachmanides on Curses and Magic[1]     The biblical portion Nizavim, Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20, offers us an opportunity to observe some problematic ideas of the great thirteenth century Spanish Jewish sage, Nachmanides, ideas common among people of his time, but rejected by many people today.   Idolatry, magic, and divination Nachmanides’ view of [...]

20 10, 2013

Chayei Sarah – conflicting accounts, magic, marriage, love

By |2013-10-20T04:28:19-07:00October 20th, 2013|Thoughts|

  The following is a brief version of an excerpt from “what’s Beyond the Bible Text” by Rabbi Dr. Stanley Wagner and me that was published in September 2013. We usually put three articles for each biblical portion, generally discussing thought-provoking subjects that people will not find elsewhere. This week’s essay is from Chayei Sarah. [...]

10 01, 2013

Unusual Biblical Interpretations 10

By |2013-01-10T11:04:40-07:00January 10th, 2013|Thoughts|

                                                                                 By Israel Drazin     We have been offering some unusual and controversial Bible interpretations that the Jewish iconoclast Arnold B. Ehrlich (1848-1919) placed in his book Mikra Ki-Pheshuto (The Bible According to its Literal Meaning) with the hope that whether readers agree with them or not they will provoke thought. We [...]

21 12, 2011

Why write law codes after Maimonides did?

By |2011-12-21T07:16:04-07:00December 21st, 2011|Thoughts|

By Israel Drazin   Maimonides wrote his Mishneh Torah, his code of Jewish law. About a century after his death in 1204, Jacob ben Asher (1270–c. 1340) composed a code of Jewish law that he called the Tur. Roughly two centuries later, Joseph Karo (1488–1575), compiled his law books, which he named the Shulchan Arukh. More [...]