The Tragedy of Translation

As we enter the month of Kislev, and the weather turns colder, we start thinking about Chanukah, menorahs, latkes and donuts.  Some of us, of the more nerdy variety, start to think of Philo Judeaus, the Septuagint, Alexandria and Greek tragedies.  One aspect of the Greek opposition to Torah was their objection to the idea that any one people could be “chosen” or have a Divine revelation.  Their campaign against ...

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It’s Night and Day

With the long winter nights now starting so early, I have started to think about day and night and their significance in Jewish thought.  We know that in secular law, the calendar day starts and ends at midnight, however, in Jewish tradition the day starts the evening beforehand. So for example, Shabbat, starts Friday evening around sunset and it ends on Saturday night when the stars come out. So both ...

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The Honor of the Dead

The Jewish community and the entire world recently lost living Torahs, Rav Dovid Feinstein and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. This week’s Torah reading Chayei Sarah discusses the first ever Jewish burial and Avaraham’s care for his deceased wife, Sarah.  I believe that it is appropriate to discuss the mitzvah of burial and respect for the deceased.  The earliest mention of burial is found in Genesis, when G-d speaks to Adam: ...

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Jewish Beauty

Sarah is described by the Torah as being beautiful. (Bereshis 12:11) What is beauty?  According to the Getty Museum ancient sculptors used canons—sets of “perfect” mathematical ratios and proportions—to depict the human form. The earliest known canons were developed by the Egyptians, whose grid-based proportions influenced Greek sculptors in the archaic period (700–480 B.C.). Over time, sculptors and painters sought to create a canon that would allow them to depict ...

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The Heritage of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs

Abraham and Sarah, the parents of the Jewish people were renowned for their kindness and hospitality and indeed their children have, for thousands of years, also been noted for their philanthropy.  Every Jewish community in the world, no matter how small or poor, has always had charitable societies and funds. A typical example was the Jewish community of Rome in the 17th century.  Although numbering only a few thousand, they ...

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