Information is the currency of democracy. —Thomas Jefferson
When I was a young sixteen-year-old, I remember becoming involved in the Chabad movement in Los Angelos, CA. I remember purchasing a translation of Judah Halevi’s classic theological work, “The Kuzari” that was translated by the early 20th-centuryOriental scholar Hartwig Hirschfeld. When an ...
Simchat Torah is a relatively new holiday. Nowhere is it mentioned in the Talmud; nor is it mentioned in Maimonides or the Tur Shulchan Aruch. But it is explicitly mentioned in the Zohar, a work that dates back to about 1270—although it is a holiday that probably began many centuries earlier when the Babylonian and Palestinian communities finished reading their Torah cycles. Undoubtedly, just as the conclusion of Talmudic ...
This past weekend, Detroit pastor Bishop Wayne Jackson draped a tallit around Donald Trump’s shoulders at service. What was the Jewish reaction? Well, that takes us to the rest of the story that I am about to tell you.
Most Jews I know are probably confused about seeing Donald Trump wearing a tallit. Some of my congregants said, “He looks ridiculous!” Another said, “Non-Jews are not supposed ...
Updated March 6, 2017
We all love bee honey. No Rosh Hashanah meal would be complete without it. Yet, in this week’s Torah portion of Shemini, we find ourselves with a conundrum that has puzzled many rabbinic minds since the days of Late Antiquity. I am referring to the verse in Leviticus, “But all other winged insects that have four feet are detestable to you” (Lev. 11:23). Maimonides explains, ...
One of the best-known blessings Orthodox Jews recite every day is the blessing, “Thank you God for not making me a woman.”
The recent transformation on the cover of Vanity Fair’s 22-page cover story featuring Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce, raises a number of fascinating questions pertaining to Halacha as well as Jewish ethics.
To begin with, persons wishing to undergo transsexual surgery are a minority—in fact one per million men and even less with ...