Unusual explanations in Midrashim on Jonah

By |2015-05-03T06:11:47-07:00May 3rd, 2015|Jewish Books|

                                                 Unusual explanations in Midrashim on Jonah   Midrashim, the singular is Midrash, are many books composed over centuries that contain laws as well as a myriad of legends. The name is derived [...]

Three tales with profound lessons

By |2014-10-03T02:09:27-07:00September 29th, 2014|Thoughts|

                                             Three rabbinical tales with profound rational lessons[1]   Maimonides, in his Commentary on the Mishnah, Introduction to Perek Chelek, describes how one should understand rabbinical stories and declares that most people do not [...]

Tetzaveh – What is Midrash?

By |2014-02-02T07:07:51-07:00February 2nd, 2014|Thoughts|

                                                                             TETZAVEH                                                                (Chapters 27:20–30:1)                                                               Moses’ Name is Missing   This biblical portion Tetzaveh is the only one from Exodus through Deuteronomy that does not contain Moses’s name. Why? And what can we [...]

A Startling Reevaluation of Three Rabbinical Tales

By |2013-09-15T23:03:27-07:00September 15th, 2013|Thoughts|

By Israel Drazin                                       This essay is adapted from my book Maimonides: The Exceptional Mind.   Maimonides[1] describes how one should understand rabbinical tales and Midrashim,[2] and declares that most people do not [...]

Rashi: Sermons, commentaries, or both?

By |2013-07-03T09:56:22-07:00July 3rd, 2013|Thoughts|

                                                                                       By Israel Drazin   I described the style of Rashi’s commentary in the past. It is brilliant, but it does not offer readers the plain meaning of the biblical text. Rashi (1040-1105) follows [...]

How should people understand strange midrashic tales?

By |2013-07-01T07:30:41-07:00June 25th, 2013|Thoughts|

                                                                                         By Israel Drazin   The Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 11a, tells a tale that is not even hinted in the Torah. Before enslaving the Israelites, Pharaoh asked Balaam, Job, and Jethro whether it is advisable [...]

Unusual Biblical Interpretations 12

By |2013-01-25T09:45:10-07:00January 25th, 2013|Thoughts|

                                                                                By Israel Drazin     We have been offering some controversial and conventional Jewish Bible interpretations by the iconoclast Arnold B. Ehrlich (1848-1919) from his book Mikra Ki-Pheshuto (The Bible According to [...]

What really happened to Cain?

By |2012-07-12T13:39:05-07:00July 12th, 2012|Thoughts|

By Israel Drazin   People think that biblical narratives are clear and easily understandable, and that the explanations of the stories offered in clerical sermons or written in ancient documents such as the Talmud, Midrashim [...]

The Secret of the Book of Esther

By |2012-06-26T06:35:23-07:00June 26th, 2012|Thoughts|

                                                                                                                                                             By Israel Drazin   The Book of Esther is one of the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. Curiously, God is not mentioned in this volume of Scripture and there is [...]

A revolution in Bible study

By |2011-11-07T05:42:48-07:00November 7th, 2011|Book Reviews|

Bringing the Prophets to Life By Neil N. Winkler Gefen Publishing House, 2011, 193 pages   Many Jews consider the Bible to be the sacred text revealed by God to the Israelites trough Moses. Multiple [...]