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Daily Archives: November 21, 2019

Akedah and Martyrdom

For Rosh HaShana 5778 עוקד והנעקד והמזבח – These words are the refrain of a poem chanted by all Sephardic communities, from the Iberian Peninsula to North Africa, from Iran to Jerusalem. The meaning of these words is: He who bounds; He who is bound; The Altar. Those three Hebrew…

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End of Life and Mourning

A Brief Guide of Laws, Practices, and Alternatives Dear Readers, This series will deal with themes we would rather not deal with. Talking about sickness, the end of life, burial, and mourning, reminds us of our frailty and weakness. It is understandable that the prevalent attitude to the laws concerning…

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The Meat Snowball

In this article I wish to present the history of the practice of abstaining from eating meat and drinking wine for nine days, from the first to the ninth of Av. I do not seek to rule on the matter (especially since I spent several years of my life as…

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Free Will is Responsibility

Of all the questions surrounding the ten plagues of Egypt, none has captured the interest of commentators throughout the ages as much as the question of how can God disrupt Pharaoh’s decision-making process, and then hold him accountable for it. This question fascinates believers because it has direct application to…

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Frog or Frogs?

Frog or Frogs?

Messianic Wars in Midrash – Parashat VaEra In Exodus 8:2 we read of the second plague of Egypt, frogs: ותעל הצפרדע ותכס את ארץ מצרים. The literal translation of these words is: The frog [singular] came up and covered the land of Egypt. The use of the singular form to…

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Who is in the Details?

Who is in the Details?

We are taught to believe that the text of the Torah is extremely economic and succinct, and that Torah and redundancy are mutually exclusive. We therefore cannot help but wonder why the Torah is so verbose when describing the construction of the Tabernacle. To answer this question, I think we…

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Selfish Sodom

Selfish Sodom

Many believe that the sin of Sodom was Sodomy. That word was coined after the events described in Genesis (19:1-10): The messengers came to Sodom and were greeted by Lot, took them home and offered them food and shelter. As they were getting ready to sleep, the townspeople besieged the…

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