Category: Religion

Kedoshim – Skin in a Zero-Sum Gam

Although, in the end, all tattooing is forbidden by halachah, one opinion in the Mishna (Rabi Shimon ben Yehudah in Rabi Shimon’s name) sees the prohibition as referring specifically to tattooing the name of an...

Acharei Mos – “No. You Do ME”

“Propriety” was apparently a theme of the Sadducees, or Tziddukim, one of the camps of Jews during the Second Temple period that rejected the the Torah’s “Oral Law,” the key to understanding the true...

The Puzzle of the Fours

Four questions. Four sons. Four expressions of geulah. Four cups of wine. Dam (=44) was placed, in Mitzrayim, on the doorway (deles, “door,” being the technical spelling of the letter daled, whose value is four). Moving...

Tazria – The Little Man Who Wasn’t There

“On the eighth day yimol b’sar arlaso – the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised” (Vayikra, 12:3). Rather than directly command circumcision, the Torah here employs the future passive tense – “it shall...

Shemini – Feel the Burn

Fire descending from heaven was something our ancestors in the desert experienced nightly for decades, as the daytime pillar of cloud was replaced by one of flame. It had surely become an expected, regular...

Tzav — Finding Fervor

“And for generations,” the Midrash, quoted by Rashi, adds to its assertion: “The word tzav [‘command’] implies ziruz [‘fervor’ or ‘zeal’] immediately…” The context of the Midrash’s statement are the laws of terumas hadeshen...

Vayikra – Love and Coercion

The Rambam famously explains how, in a case where a Jewish court has determined that a couple must divorce, the court can force the husband to hand the get, or divorce document, to his...

The Vehemence Virus

You never know what sets some people off.  Back in 2015, when I dared to write that the U.S. remaining as a partner in the Iran Deal might be better than what might happen...

Vayakhel – The Muddle of Our Motives

A miscalculation made by the Nesi’im, or tribal leaders, during the collections made in the desert for the building of the Mishkan resulted in the word “Nesi’im” being written in a diminished form –...

Pin It on Pinterest