Category Archives: Teaching Torah

The Torah in Conflict with Itself

Sometimes it seems that the Torah is in conflict with itself over whether it’s a cultural history or a book of laws. Could this inconsistency be a matter of of design? Continue reading

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“Elu v’elu’ are the words of the living God

(I had intended to write an entirely different essay on my interpretation of the sugyah in Sanhedrin dealing with the stubborn and rebellious son. But as I was scrambling to finish this article before Shavuot, I suddenly came up with … Continue reading

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In Tribute to Dr. C. Everett Koop (Oct.14, 1916 – Feb. 25, 2013)

I remember this story from my days as a rabbi in Philadelphia when Dr. Koop was chief of surgery at Children’s Hospital.  This story introduced me to the man who was to later become the Surgeon General. He impressed me … Continue reading

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Halakhic Innovation

I know this is a bit off-topic, but this article from today’s Haaretz is relevant to the general theme of my series on the evolution of the oral law. It raises a question we raised since our first class in … Continue reading

Posted in A fence around the Torah, Alexander The Great, Babylonian Talmud, Bavli, Bein Hametzorim, Bible, Conservative Judaism, Cycleof the Jewish Year, Ethics of the Fathers, Ezra, Fast Days, God, Haredi, Holocaust, Israel, Jerusalem Talmud, Jewish, Jewish Calendar, Jewish Learning, Jewish Life, Jewish Living, Jewish Parenting, Jewish Religion, Jewish ritual, Jewish Wisdom, Judaism, Kabbalah, Learning, Luck, Madonna, Maimonides, Men of the Great Assembly, Moses, Oral Law, Orthodox, Orthodox Judaism, Orthodoxy, Parenting, Passover, Pharisees, Pirkei Avot, Prophecy, Prophets, Rabbis, Rambam, Reconstrcutionist Judaism, Reconstructionism, Reconstructionist Judaism, Reform, Reform Judaism, Religion, Religious coercion, Religious freedom, Religious Judaism, Saducees, Sages, Samaritans, Sea of Halakhah, Seder, Seventeenth of Tammuz, Shavuot, Shimon Hatzadik, Shoah, Shomronim, Simon the Just, Sinai, Talmud, Tanach, Teaching Torah, The Three Weeks, Theology, Torah Shebe'al Peh, Trah Shebe'al peh, Trochenbrod, Uncategorized, Women, Written Law, yahrzeit, Yerushalmi, Yom Hashoah | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going…going…where? Goodbye to Prophecy

We know that between the last of the prophets and the beginning of the Mishnah, Judaism underwent a major change.  Avot describes this period in just a sentence or two.  The Rambam takes several paragraphs to explain it.  But nobody … Continue reading

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Takkanot – The Torah adapts to new realities

The Mishnah marks the culmination of the transition from Prophetic Judaism to Rabbinic Judaism.  The period before that – from the time of Ezra to the establishment of the Anshei Knesset Hagedolah (Men of the Great Assembly) – is the … Continue reading

Posted in Babylonian Talmud, Bavli, Bible, Conservative Judaism, Cycleof the Jewish Year, Ethics of the Fathers, Fast Days, God, Haredi, Holocaust, Israel, Jerusalem Talmud, Jewish, Jewish Calendar, Jewish Learning, Jewish Life, Jewish Living, Jewish Religion, Jewish ritual, Jewish Wisdom, Judaism, Kabbalah, Learning, Maimonides, Moses, Oral Law, Orthodox, Orthodox Judaism, Orthodoxy, Passover, Pirkei Avot, Rabbis, Rambam, Reconstrcutionist Judaism, Reconstructionism, Reconstructionist Judaism, Reform, Reform Judaism, Religion, Religious freedom, Religious Judaism, Sages, Sea of Halakhah, Seventeenth of Tammuz, Shavuot, Sinai, Talmud, Tanach, Teaching Torah, Theology, Trah Shebe'al peh, Uncategorized, Yerushalmi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From God’s Mouth? Introduction to a New Course

Recently, I began studying the development of Torah Shebe’al peh with my students in Jerusalem.  The course is entitled From God’s Mouth? — The Evolution of The Oral Law  and it meets at the Fuchsberg Center Wednesday mornings.   Our goal … Continue reading

Posted in Babylonian Talmud, Bavli, Bible, Conservative Judaism, Cycleof the Jewish Year, Ethics of the Fathers, Fast Days, God, Haredi, Israel, Jerusalem Talmud, Jewish, Jewish Learning, Jewish Life, Jewish Living, Jewish Parenting, Jewish ritual, Jewish Wisdom, Judaism, Kabbalah, Learning, Maimonides, Moses, Oral Law, Orthodox, Orthodox Judaism, Orthodoxy, Pirkei Avot, Rambam, Reconstrcutionist Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism, Reform Judaism, Religion, Religious coercion, Religious freedom, Religious Judaism, Sages, Sea of Halakhah, Seder, Sinai, Talmud, Tanach, Teaching Torah, Theology, Tikun leil Shavuot, Trah Shebe'al peh, Uncategorized, Women, Written Law, yahrzeit, Yerushalmi | Leave a comment