14 09, 2017

The curious views of Nahmanides

By |2017-09-14T04:58:49-07:00September 14th, 2017|Thoughts|

  Nachmanides was a famed Bible and Talmud commentator. His real name was Moses ben Nahman Gerondi. He is known in Hebrew as Ramban and in European languages as Nahmanides, also spelt Nachmanides (1194-1270). He was a mystic and had mystical ideas. What are some of his views? Among much else, Nahmanides believed that Jews [...]

30 08, 2017

Is the concept of “faith” sensible?

By |2017-08-30T06:45:30-07:00August 30th, 2017|Thoughts|

My answer is no. Ever since I was a child, I heard about faith and understood that it makes no sense. One day when I was still young my father Rabbi Dr. Nathan Drazin took me to hear a lecture by the famous Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Heschel said the faith is not a Jewish [...]

9 08, 2017

The Non-Jewish Origin of Kapparot

By |2017-08-09T09:00:27-07:00August 9th, 2017|Thoughts|

  On Sunday, I posted remarks about the horrible practice of mistreating chickens. The following is a shortened version of what I wrote about kapparot generally in my book “Maimonides: The Exceptional Mind.” Many Jews recognized that the kapparot ceremony was based on superstition, that waiving a chicken over one’s head a magical number of [...]

6 08, 2017

Animal cruelty and kapparos

By |2017-08-06T13:27:51-07:00August 6th, 2017|Thoughts|

I received the following from The Shamayim V’aretz Institute about the cruelty practiced against animals during the kapparos (also spelt kapparot) ceremony that many Orthodox Jews observe. I agree with what is stated and I think it is important for everyone to know about the cruelty. Therefore, I am printing it here. And I will [...]

1 08, 2017

The truth about the untrue “Since Creation Calendar”

By |2017-08-01T05:15:19-07:00August 1st, 2017|Thoughts|

  Many people, secular and religious, of different cultures and worldviews, have attempted to calculate the age of the world. There is no agreement between them simply because it is an impossible task. Christians,[1] Muslims, and Jews have tried to do the calculation based on a literal reading of the Bible and have come up [...]

26 07, 2017

Some people dislike paradise

By |2017-07-26T04:21:30-07:00July 26th, 2017|Book Reviews|

Lost Horizon By James Hilton   The philosopher Maimonides (1138-1204) considered the biblical story of the Garden of Eden as a parable, not an actual event, in his Guide of the Perplexed 1:2. He states that the Torah is speaking about morality. I think his interpretation is correct. I will not summarize it here, but [...]

18 07, 2017

Must a Jew Obey a Rabbinical Decision He knows is Wrong?

By |2017-07-18T04:30:26-07:00July 18th, 2017|Thoughts|

  There are various views about mistaken rabbinical decisions. Maimonides answers "no." Here is what I wrote in my book “Maimonides: The Exceptional Mind.” Rabbi Solomon Yitzchaqi (1040–1105), better known as Rashi, the acronym of his name, makes a rather remarkable and, in the mind of many, counterintuitive statement in his commentary to Deuteronomy 17:11. [...]

13 07, 2017

The Truth About Conversions: It is not Biblical

By |2017-07-13T04:50:04-07:00July 13th, 2017|Thoughts|

  The Israeli Chief Rabbinate insists that conversions must be done their way, implying that the Torah tells us how it must be done. They blackballed dozens of rabbis by name who they charge did not convert people using their method. There are good reasons to think that the concept of conversion did not exist [...]

9 07, 2017

Questions about the Torah that bothered scholars for centuries

By |2017-07-09T04:27:15-07:00July 9th, 2017|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

  In “Inconsistency in the Torah,” Rabbi Dr. Joshua A. Berman, addresses questions that have bothered scholars and clergy for centuries—the many seeming contradictions that are found in the Torah, in both its narrative and legal portions. He offers a solution that they ignored, a solution that makes sense. He suggests that many of the [...]

2 07, 2017

The Bible does not discuss ethics

By |2017-07-02T06:16:16-07:00July 2nd, 2017|Thoughts|

                                                                      The Bible does not discuss ethics   Ethics is a subject that people speak about often and most people think that the Torah must discuss [...]

30 06, 2017

A victory for women

By |2017-06-30T07:12:40-07:00June 30th, 2017|Thoughts|

  Finally, after many years of demeaning mistreatment by ultra-orthodox haredi men who ignore some of their teachers who tell them it is ok to sit next to a woman, people who were also created by God, people who deserve the same respect given to men, the Israeli court has ruled that El Al acted [...]

28 06, 2017

The truth about Maimonides

By |2017-06-28T04:57:02-07:00June 28th, 2017|Thoughts|

                                                                                                               [...]

25 06, 2017

Are women equal to men in respect to prayer?

By |2017-06-25T04:04:06-07:00June 25th, 2017|Thoughts|

I just read "Gender Equality and Prayer in Jewish Law" by Rabbis E. Tucker and M. Rosenberg. It is an excellent thoughtful book. Whether a reader agrees with the two rabbis who authored the book or not, he or she will find a wealth of information in the book that will prompt thought. Whether the [...]

12 06, 2017

Words worth thinking about

By |2017-06-12T09:49:06-07:00June 12th, 2017|Thoughts|

Some Words of Wisdom   One of our readers sent me three wise thoughts that are worth pondering. I will add a fourth.   Tikkun Olam - The repair of the world: If you see what needs to be repaired and how to repair it, then you have found a piece of the world that [...]

11 06, 2017

Translations of the Hebrew Bible are not correct

By |2017-06-11T04:17:01-07:00June 11th, 2017|Jewish Books, Thoughts|

  The basic idea of “The Grammar of God” by Aviya Kushner, an interesting and informative book, is that readers of the Hebrew Bible who do not know Hebrew and read only the English translation will generally not know what the Bible is saying. What the Bible states is misrepresented or obscured in the translation, [...]

7 06, 2017

A Great Orthodox Rabbi Offered a Huge Unorthodox Idea

By |2017-06-07T06:19:09-07:00June 7th, 2017|Thoughts|

Rashbam (1085) was the grandson of the famed Bible and Talmud commentators Rashi (1040-1105) and brother to the famed Rabbeinu Tam (1100-1171). Rashbam’s commentary to the Torah is very rational, so much so that the far right modern volume ArtScroll deletes some of his comments. The following is a chapter from my latest book, “Mysteries [...]

30 05, 2017

There Are Not 613 Biblical Commands

By |2017-05-30T04:40:10-07:00May 30th, 2017|Thoughts|

When sacrifices were discontinued, the rabbis developed a new idea about Shavuot. They said the holiday commemorates the giving of the Torah. Soon, many Jews began to believe that the Torah contains 613 commandments. What is the origin of this view and is it correct? The following is chapter 23 from my book "Mysteries of [...]

16 07, 2013

Review of my 22nd book

By |2013-07-16T06:46:40-07:00July 16th, 2013|Book Reviews|

    WHAT YOU MAY NOT HAVE LEARNED IN PAROCHIAL OR HEBREW SCHOOL                                                                   By Dr. Jack Cohen     To many, the phrase ‘Rational Religion’ may seem like an oxymoron. After you’ve read Daniel A. Diamond’s ‘Rational Religion’, I believe you will feel differently.   In Part 1, Diamond introduces the concept of the ‘noble lie’, [...]