15 07, 2014

The rabbis changed a Torah law

By |2014-07-15T07:07:09-07:00July 15th, 2014|Thoughts|

                                                                                                  The rabbis changed a Torah law   Numbers 30:3 contains the divine command, “A man who vows a vow to the Lord or swears an oath, to bind himself with a binding obligation, must not nullify his word; he must do all that goes out of his mouth.” This biblical law clearly [...]

8 06, 2014

Samson among the rabbis

By |2014-06-08T07:23:37-07:00June 8th, 2014|Thoughts|

                                                                      Samson among the rabbis   Maimonides wrote in his “Chelek” that people who accept rabbinical imaginative Midrashim as being true are fools, those who reject Midrashim entirely because they are not true are also fools. The proper approach to Midrashim is to realize that they are not true and were not meant to be [...]

15 09, 2013

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 deal with rabbinic Midrashim[3] correctly. According to Maimonides, three clusters of people exist, each taking a radically different approach to [...]

17 08, 2013

Surprising facts about Ethiopian Jews

By |2013-08-17T23:37:12-07:00August 17th, 2013|Book Reviews|

The Koren Ethiopian Haggada Journey to Freedom Edited by Rabbi Menachem Waldman Koren Publishers, 2011, 229pages ISBN 978-965-301-292-9   This is an interesting book that introduces readers to the history of Ethiopian Jews,[1] the brutal treatment they endured for centuries, their culture, and the remarkable fact that they maintained the Jewish religion as mandated by [...]

7 05, 2013

Divorces in Israel

By |2013-05-07T04:41:42-07:00May 7th, 2013|Book Reviews|

                                                                    Review by Israel Drazin      Marriage and Divorce in the Jewish State Israel’s Civil War By Susan M. Weiss & Netty C. Gross-Horowitz Brandeis University Press, 2013, 218 pages   In 1953, the Israeli government acquiesced to far right religious elements in the state and enacted the restrictive Rabbinic Courts Jurisdiction Law, [...]

27 06, 2012

The Secret of Shavuot

By |2012-08-03T05:43:02-07:00June 27th, 2012|Thoughts|

                                                                                                                                                                     By Israel Drazin   No Jewish holiday is practiced today as the Bible mandates. Shavuot, called Pentecost in English, is a good example. The current observance of the holiday has no relationship to its biblical ancestor and doesn’t even occur at the same time.[1] Very few people know the truth about [...]

25 12, 2011

The role of customs and traditions in Judaism

By |2011-12-25T13:54:16-07:00December 25th, 2011|Thoughts|

By Israel Drazin   Rabbis who offer legal decisions frequently say that customs that have been practiced for some time have the same power as laws, but actually some do and some don’t. Traditions are a twin sister to customs. Generally customs refer to behaviors and traditions to ideas, but people use the terms interchangeably. [...]

7 12, 2011

Do religious laws benefit God?

By |2011-12-07T07:58:10-07:00December 7th, 2011|Thoughts|

By Israel Drazin   It is certainly true that most Jews today, including most rabbis, see a distinction between ritual and social laws. The first focuses on God and the second on people. In the Ten Commandments, for example, the laws forbidding idols and those requiring rest on the Sabbath are seen by most Jews [...]

5 12, 2011

Missunderstanding rabbinic literature

By |2011-12-05T05:15:47-07:00December 5th, 2011|Thoughts|

By Israel Drazin   I think that the greatest difficulty that people have in understanding rabbinic literature is that it is hard for them to see what prompted the rabbi to say what he said. I’ll focus on one point.   Very soon after the Five Books of Moses was canonized, probably during the time [...]

1 12, 2011

Why listen to clergy?

By |2011-12-01T03:59:06-07:00December 1st, 2011|Thoughts|

By Israel Drazin   Why do people feel that they should listen to their clergy? There is nothing in the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, or Koran that says that its adherents must obey rabbis, priests, and imams. In fact, Judaism didn’t have rabbis until around the year 70 of the Common Era, after the second [...]