22 04, 2018

A famous mystic’s view of ecclesiastes

By |2018-04-23T04:36:56-07:00April 22nd, 2018|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

While scholars such as Rashbam, Abraham ibn Ezra, Maimonides, and others read what the Bible actually states, Nachmanides (1194-1270) read mysticism into the biblical words. According to Rabbi Dr. Charles B. Chavel, he was the first Bible commentator to do so.[1] He also explained the biblical text by claiming that certain events, behaviors, and conversations [...]

21 03, 2018

Nachmanides’ Unique View of Passover

By |2018-03-21T06:44:02-07:00March 21st, 2018|Thoughts|

  Some may say that the mystic Nachmanides was more interested in heaven than earth. Unlike Maimonides, 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 Guide [...]

29 11, 2017

What really happened at the Red Sea?

By |2017-11-29T13:54:13-07:00November 29th, 2017|Thoughts|

After years of devastating slavery, God aided Moses in leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Several days after the Exodus, the erstwhile slaves reached the banks of the Red Sea, also called the Sea of Reeds. They felt trapped and saw no escape. If they moved forward into the sea in front of them they [...]

27 12, 2015

What does Maimonides teach?

By |2015-12-27T06:15:53-07:00December 27th, 2015|Thoughts|

                                                                                    What does Maimonides teach?   The great philosopher Maimonides is misunderstood by many people, most of whom need to see him saying what he never said.   Maimonides’ God Maimonides’ God is transcendental, meaning God is not involved in the daily activities of the world. God either created the world out of [...]

5 01, 2014

B’shalach – Was the manna a miracle?

By |2014-01-05T05:45:53-07:00January 5th, 2014|Thoughts|

                                                              B’SHALACH                                                   (Chapters 13:17–17:16)                                                 Was the manna a miracle?[1]   Targum Pseudo-Jonathan and Ethics of the Fathers 5:8 inform us that the manna in Exodus 16:14–36, this “bread from heaven,” was “hidden away from the beginning;” that is, when the world was created. Should we understand this rabbinical statement literally? What is accomplished [...]

22 12, 2013

Va’eira – God’s names and miracles

By |2013-12-22T08:57:46-07:00December 22nd, 2013|Thoughts|

                                                              VA’EIRA                                              (Chapters 6:2–9:35)[1]                                                                  God’s name and miracles   In Exodus 6:3, Moses is informed that God appeared to the Israelite ancestors “as El Shaddai, but I did not make myself known to them by my name y-h-v-h.” This “name” El Shaddai drew many interpretations.   Are the “names” of God [...]

26 06, 2012

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 no indication that God was involved in any way in helping Esther and Mordecai save the Jews of Persia from [...]

1 01, 2012

One approach to understanding Maimonides

By |2012-01-01T11:46:15-07:00January 1st, 2012|Book Reviews|

Maimonides Essential Teachings on Jewish Faith & Ethics The Book of Knowledge & the Thirteen Principles of Faith Annotated & Explained By Rabbi Marc D. Angel, PhD Skylight Illuminations, 2012, 177 pages There are many divergent interpretations of the great sage Moses Maimonides (1138-1204). Some scholars, such as Leo Strauss of the University of Chicago [...]

7 11, 2011

Another Saramago “blasphemy”

By |2011-11-07T06:55:04-07:00November 7th, 2011|Book Reviews|

The Elephants Journey By Jose Saramago Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010, 205 pages Anyone doubting Jose Saramago’s right to the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature will rapidly change their mind when they read this superbly written book. Virtually every third sentence, on the average, is filled with clever eye-opening humor. The narrator also interrupts the drama [...]

30 10, 2011

On prophets and miracles

By |2011-10-30T07:20:37-07:00October 30th, 2011|Thoughts|

By Israel Drazin   As I wrote in my discussion about the origin of evil, I am convinced that God created the world out of nothing or formed it out of preexisting and eternal matter, set the laws of nature in it, and then stopped being involved in the earth and its people. God is [...]

28 06, 2011

Startling unconventional opinions by a great thinker

By |2011-07-29T04:43:23-07:00June 28th, 2011|Book Reviews|

Gersonides Judaism within the Limits of Reason By Seymour Feldman The Littman Library, 2010, 254 pages   Levi ben Gershom, Gersonides in Latin, (1288-1344), was one of several great Jewish rationalistic philosophers. He lived in Provence, France, and wrote books on philosophy, science, and Bible commentary. He wasn’t as deep a thinker as Maimonides and [...]