17 07, 2020

Was the Torah revealed from Heaven?

By |2020-07-17T06:23:41-07:00July 17th, 2020|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

The doctrine of Torah Min Ha-Shamayim, “The Torah is from Heaven,” is a fundamental teaching of Orthodox Judaism. Rabbis say it means that God dictated the Five Books of Moses to Moses. But even rabbis who strongly defend this doctrine do not know how God communicated the Torah to Moses or how much of it. [...]

24 12, 2017

Rashi’s grandson’s commentary of Ecclesiastes

By |2017-12-24T05:55:00-07:00December 24th, 2017|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

Sara Japhet and Robert B. Salters, two highly respected scholars’ editing and translation of Rashbam’s commentary on Qoheleth (also spelt Kohelet, Ecclesiastes in English) is excellent. Rashbam was one of Jewry’s most supreme rational Bible commentators, part of a trio of top Jewish medieval rationalist, along with Maimonides and Abraham ibn Ezra. He was the [...]

15 06, 2016

The truth about Rashi, by a scholar

By |2016-06-15T04:00:20-07:00June 15th, 2016|Book Reviews|

 The following is information about Rashi  contained in a book by a very good scholar: Rashi, By Avraham Grossman, The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2012, 327 pages   Very little is known about the personal life of the great beloved Bible and Talmud commentator Rashi. What is known is only a few minor facts, his writings, and [...]

13 06, 2016

A questionable sermon

By |2016-06-13T03:40:25-07:00June 13th, 2016|Thoughts|

                                                                      A questionable sermon   Ever since the time of the sage Nachmanides (1194 – 1270), who introduced the notion that [...]

18 05, 2016

Is Rashi’s Bible Commentary Rational?

By |2016-05-18T04:03:42-07:00May 18th, 2016|Thoughts|

                                                       Is Rashi’s Bible Commentary Rational?   Certainly Rabbi SolomonYitzchaqi (or Shlomo ben Isaac, 1040–1105), known by the acronym Rashi because of the initials of his name, is the [...]

20 12, 2015

The Mystery Founder of Rabbinical Judaism

By |2015-12-20T16:56:35-07:00December 20th, 2015|Thoughts|

                                                                                                       The Mystery Founder of Rabbinical Judaism   Most people, including many rabbis do not realize that Rabbi Akiva revolutionized Judaism and that many people consider his methodology non-rational. Judaism until the destruction of the second temple in 70 CE, was temple oriented. Several major sects existed during the final centuries of the temple: [...]

9 12, 2015

Is Rashi’s Bible Commentary Rational?

By |2015-12-09T09:59:33-07:00December 9th, 2015|Thoughts|

                    Is Rashi’s Bible Commentary Rational?   Certainly Rabbi SolomonYitzchaqi (or Shlomo ben Isaac, 1040–1105), known by the acronym Rashi because of the initials of his name, is the most beloved and most popular of all Bible commentators. The Encyclopedia Judaica calls him “the leading commentator on the Bible and Talmud.” Virtually every Jewish child, [...]

6 10, 2015

The Generally Unknown Mystery of Rashi’s Commentary

By |2015-10-06T22:53:40-07:00October 6th, 2015|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

                                      The Generally Unknown Mystery of Rashi’s Commentary    Many individuals of all faiths use the commentary of the famed biblical and Talmudic French rabbi Rashi (1040-1105) to help them understand the Bible. Rashi is a master writer. His commentaries are short, to the point, clarifying, and interesting. People enjoyed his explanations so [...]

21 12, 2014

Do angels and demons exist?

By |2014-12-21T06:21:05-07:00December 21st, 2014|Thoughts|

  The following is based on what I wrote in my recent book “Unusual Bible Interpretations: Five Books of Moses.”                                                                                                                                                                Angels and demons   Did brilliant well-respected ancient thinkers of all religions have ideas that modern people should reject? Certainly. Aristotle, one of the greatest philosophers, had the despicable incorrect notion that women [...]

15 05, 2014

Judges 13 – Samson’s inscrutable tale

By |2014-05-15T09:16:13-07:00May 15th, 2014|Thoughts|

                                                                                    Chapter 13                                                                The inscrutable tale of Samson                                           Samson’s story is told in Judges in four chapters. The chapters state that he “judged Israel for twenty years”[1] twice: at the end of chapter 15 before the episode of Delilah, after describing various episodes where Samson seems to have violated [...]

2 10, 2013

Unusual Bible Interpretations – Joshua 1

By |2013-10-09T02:52:42-07:00October 2nd, 2013|Thoughts|

                                                                 Joshua  Chapter 1                                                                 By Israel Drazin   Having completed 54 Unusual Bible Interpretations on the Pentateuch, I have begun this series on the next biblical book Joshua. I will focus on one chapter every week.                                                          The Book Joshua The first chapter of Joshua presents its history using the number three.[1] [...]

3 07, 2013

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 the worldview of the second century Rabbi Akiva: God composed the Torah, God is perfect, and must have written the [...]

17 05, 2013

Nasso – Unusual Interpretations 26

By |2013-05-19T09:34:50-07:00May 17th, 2013|Thoughts|

                                                                                    By Israel Drazin   Rashi (1040-1105) reports a teaching of Rabbi Ishmael (second century CE) contained in Midrash Sifrei Numbers 30 in his commentary on Numbers 6:13. I think that Sifrei may have erred because what it says doesn’t seem logical or consistent with the interpretive methodology of Rabbi Ishmael.   Chapter [...]

4 01, 2013

Unusual Biblical Interpretations 9

By |2013-01-04T06:51:29-07:00January 4th, 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 [...]

12 12, 2011

Is this biblical book hedonistic?

By |2011-12-13T06:09:09-07:00December 12th, 2011|Book Reviews|

Kohelet A Modern Commentary on Ecclesiastes By Leonard S. Kravitz and Kerry M. Olitzky UAHC Press, 2003, 132 pages     Kohelet, its Hebrew name, Ecclesiastes in English, is one of the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. Both names mean “assembly” or “assembler.” The book’s author states that he was the son of King [...]

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