JP 7 – Reason for Mitzvot 2
How did Chazal’s explanation of reasons for mitzvot help combat Hellenistic intellectual attacks on Judaism?
How did Chazal’s explanation of reasons for mitzvot help combat Christian dogmatic attacks on Judaism?
How were these problems addressed in late antiquity and the early middle ages?
JP 6 – Reason for Mitzvot
Do Mitzvot have reasons that can be understood by Mankind?
If so, should we delve into the reasons, or might they lead us astray?
Should reasons for mitzvot affect halacha, or at least kavana?
All this and more in the first class on Reasons for Mitzvot.
JP 5 – Not in Heaven 2
JP 5 sources – Not in Heaven Supplement
Was God’s stated preference for R’ Eliezer’s position merely a test?
If so, how would the Rabbis know when a ‘bat kol’ is reliable and when is it only a test?
When does a ‘bat kol’ appear, and what does it mean?
Were the actions of Yonatan, son of Saul and the servant of Avraham praiseworthy or witchcraft?
Is a medieval argument over sorcery a reenactment of the positions of R’ Eliezer and the Rabbis?
All this and more…
JP 4 – Not in Heaven
lo bashamayim sources
What role does direct Divine Intervention play in Jewish Law?
If the halachah should be X, and a voice from God says it’s Y, who do we follow?
What right did the Rabbis have to disregard the voice of God which proclaimed they were wrong and R’ Eliezer was right?
Why, then, did the Rabbis follow the voice of God in declaring Beit Hillel triumphant over Beit Shammai?
All this and more…
JP 3 – Dinah
What happened to Dinah in the Bible; was she raped, or was the relationship consensual?
Can the disagreeing commentaries all be truth?
If the relationship was consensual, why did Shimon and Levi react so violently?
If Dinah was raped, why did Jacob not act sooner?
Plus, a possible answer to the following questions:
Why was it Shimon and Levi – two brothers who have little to no role is the rest of the Book of Genesis – who acted here?
Why did Jacob send Joseph, alone, into the hostile territory of Shechem?
If Jacob only had a bloody coat, why did he not search for Joseph?
JP 2 – Elu vElu 2
Are minority opinions in halacha bereft of truth, less truthful than majority opinions, or equally truthful as majority opinions? In this class, we explore numerous different opinions on the subject over the pas millennium.
JP 1 – Elu vElu
Why do we study minority opinions which are not followed under Jewish law?
Are minority opinions ‘truth’?
Can there be more than one truth regarding a matter of law? Regarding interpretation of a biblical verse?
All this and more in class 1 of Jewish Philosophy.
Battles of the Bible 4
Saul vs. Amalek: What was Saul thinking in sparing the king and cattle of Amalek? And why was he commanded to destroy Amalek in the first place (weren’t, say the Egyptians worse than Amalek?)
Why does Saul have his kingdom ripped away from him – for a second time?
What happened in Saul’s final battle at Gilboa? Why were the Philistines victorious?
What, ultimately, does the text want us to understand about Saul’s life, successes and failures?
All this and more discussed in the final class on Battles of Saul.
Battles Bible 3
Why did Saul lead such a small force against the Philistines, who were better armed and had superior numbers?
Why did Saul abandon a heavily armored position for a much weaker one?
Why did Shmuel make Saul wait 7 days before beginning the campaign, and why was he so angry when Saul only waited six-and-a-half days?
Why did Yonatan engage in banter with the enemy before attacking them?
All these questions and more are discussed in this class.
Battles of the Bible 2
What can we learn about Saul from the story of his search for donkeys which results in his coronation?
Was Saul’s first campaign, against the Ammonites, a success or failure, and why is it textually and thematically related to the most gruesome story in the Book of Judges?
All this and more discussed in the second of out four-part series on the Battles of King Saul