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The Cambridge Companion to Judaism and Law explores the Jewish conception of law as an essential component of the divine-human relationship from biblical to modern times, as well as resistance to this conceptualization. It also traces the political, social, intellectual, and cultural circumstances that spawned competing Jewish approaches to its own 'divine' law and the 'non-divine' law of others, including that of the modern, secular state of Israel. Part I focuses on the emergence and development of law as an essential element of religious expression in biblical Israel and classical Judaism through the medieval period. Part II considers the ramifications for the law arising from political emancipation and the invention of Judaism as a 'religion' in the modern period. Finally, Part III traces the historical and ideological processes leading to the current configuration of religion and state in modern Israel, analysing specific conflicts between religious law and state law.
In Biblical Theology, Ben Witherington, III, examines the theology of the Old and New Testaments as a totality. Going beyond an account of carefully crafted Old and New Testament theologies, he demonstrates the ideas that make the Bible a sacred book with a unified theology. Witherington brings a distinctive methodology to this study. Taking a constructive approach, he first examines the foundations of the writers' symbolic universe - what they thought and presupposed about God - and how they revealed those thoughts through the narratives of the Old and New Testaments. He also shows how the historical contexts and intellectual worlds of the Old and New Testaments conditioned their narratives, and, in the process, created a large coherent Biblical world view, one that progressively reveals the character and action of God. Thus, the Yahweh of the Old Testament, the Son in the Gospels, and the Father, Son, and Spirit in the New Testament writings are viewed as persons who are part of the singular divine identity. Sensitive to do a more than merely thematic reading of the Bible which strips texts out of their original context, Witherington's progressive revelation approach allows each part of the canon to be read in its original context and with its original meaning. The result is a Biblical theology that allows Jews and Christian's to dialogue about and appreciate the sacred scriptures in both testaments. The capstone work of an internationally known theologian, Biblical Theology also offers new insights on key theological issues, including the character of God, grace, covenants, salvation, election, and eschatology as they relate to the doctrine of God.
Talmudic legislation prescribed penalty for a Jew to testify in a non-Jewish court, against a fellow Jew, to benefit a gentile - for breach of a duty of loyalty to a fellow Jew. Through close textual analysis, Saul Berman explores how Jewish jurists responded when this virtue of loyalty conflicted with values such as Justice, avoidance of desecration of God's Name, deterrence of crime, defence of self, protection of Jewish community, and the duty to adhere to Law of the Land. Essential for scholars and graduate students in Talmud, Jewish law and comparative law, this key volume details the nature of these loyalties as values within the Jewish legal system, and how the resolution of these conflicts was handled. Berman additionally explores why this issue has intensified in contemporary times and how the related area of 'Mesirah' has wrongfully come to be prominently associated with this law regulating testimony.
The biblical commentaries known as Miqra'ot Gedolot have inspired and educated generations of Hebrew readers. With the publication of this edition-the final volume of the acclaimed JPS English edition of Miqra'ot Gedolot-the voices of Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nachmanides, Rashbam, Abarbanel, Kimhi, and other medieval Bible commentators come alive once more, speaking in a contemporary English translation annotated for lay readers. Each page in The Commentators' Bible: Genesis: The Rubin JPS Miqra'ot Gedolot contains several verses from the book of Genesis, surrounded by both the 1917 and the 1985 JPS translations and by new contemporary English translations of the major commentators. The book also includes a glossary of terms, a list of names used in the text, notes on source texts, a special topics list, and resources for further study. This large-format volume is beautifully designed for easy navigation among the many elements on each page, including explanatory notes and selected additional comments from the works of Bekhor Shor, Sforno, Gersonides, and Hizkuni, among others.
Jewish law is a singular legal system that has been evolving for generations. Often conflated with Biblical law or Israeli law, Jewish law needs to be studied in its own right. An Introduction to Jewish Law expounds the general structure of Jewish law and presents the cardinal principles of this religious legal system. An introduction to modern Jewish law as it applies to the daily life of Jews around the world, this volume presents Jewish law in a way that answers all the questions that a student of comparative law would ask when encountering an unfamiliar legal system. Sources of Jewish law such as revelation, rabbinical and communal legislation, judicial decisions, and legal reasoning are defined and analyzed, and the authority of who decides what Jewish law is and why their decisions are binding is investigated.
This study takes a fresh look at the influential French philosopher, arguing that Jaques Derrida cannot be fully understood without considering the Jewish dimension of his thought, and offering a re-appraisal of his work.
A Year with the Sages uniquely relates the Sages' understanding of each Torah portion to everyday life. The importance of these teachings cannot be overstated. The Sages, who lived during the period from the fifth century BCE to the fifth century CE, considered themselves to have inherited the oral teachings God transmitted to Moses, along with the mandate to interpret them to each subsequent generation. Just as the Torah and the entire Hebrew Bible are the foundations of Judaism, the Sages' teachings form the structures of Jewish belief and practice built on that foundation. Many of these teachings revolve around core concepts such as God's justice, God's love, Torah, Israel, humility, honesty, loving-kindness, reverence, prayer, and repentance. You are invited to spend a year with the inspiring ideas of the Sages through their reflections on the fifty-four weekly Torah portions and the eleven Jewish holidays. Quoting from the week's Torah portion, Rabbi Reuven Hammer presents a Torah commentary, selections from the Sages that chronicle their process of interpreting the text, a commentary that elucidates these concepts and their consequences, and a personal reflection that illumines the Sages' enduring wisdom for our era.
As a college student Martin Buber was a leader in the early Zionist movement. During the period between 1898 and 1902 he published a series of Zionist writings that were clearly meant to be confrontational and challenge those who embraced traditional Judaism. These essays, poems and speeches have been translated and collected here in this text. For Buber Zionism was not primarily a political issue. it implied a reorientation of the entire being, on overcoming of a Diaspora mentality, a catharsis and a readiness to build in the land of Israel a new, just, free and creative community.
Whether at a model seder, a community seder, or a family seder, The New American Haggadah will inspire and delight participants of all ages. First developed as The New Haggadah, this Passover classic has been revised to reflect the experiences of our generation and the contributions it has made to the holiday's message of universal freedom. The New American Haggadah presents the Passover service, filtered through the richness of the American Jewish experience. The moving text and traditional Passover songs are supplemented with illuminating commentaries. Highlights include: An Ethiopian Jew's account of "Operation Moses," her own modern-day exodus from poverty and oppression The memoir of a Union soldier celebrating Passover during the Civil War Illustrations reflecting the diverse ways American Jews have enriched the Passover message of liberation Songs by Debbie Friedman and Linda Hirschhorn Riddles to entertain children and adults alike Gender-sensitive language with elegant translation, transliteration of the original Hebrew text, music, and instructions for the leader combine to offer an accessible--and uniquely American--Passover seder.
With its easy-to-follow format and glorious full-color illustrations, this is the ideal choice for a home seder attended by lots of children or a congregational model seder. In just 40 pages, Family Haggadah presents all the key elements of the seder in a child-friendly way that will charm everyone at the table. Special features include: Vibrant images of ancient and contemporary artifacts and illuminated Haggadot Photographs of modern children celebrating Passover Sidebars that provide enlightening commentary and thoughtful discussion questions New traditions and innovations, including Miriam's Cup Suggested techniques for involving young children in the service Popular children's Passover songs Conduct a proper seder, enjoy group discussion and learning opportunities, and keep the children engaged--all in just 45 minutes!
This magisterial Norton Anthology, edited by world-renowned scholars, offers a portable library of more than 1,000 primary texts from the world's major religions. To help readers encounter strikingly unfamiliar texts with pleasure; accessible introductions, headnotes, annotations, pronouncing glossaries, maps, illustrations and chronologies are provided. For readers of any religion or none, The Norton Anthology of World Religions opens new worlds that, as Miles writes, invite us "to see others with a measure of openness, empathy, and good will..." Unprecedented in scope and approach, The Norton Anthology of World Religions: Judaism brings together over 300 texts from pre-Israelite Mesopotamia to post-Holocaust Israel and America. The volume features Jack Miles's illuminating General Introduction-"How the West Learned to Compare Religions"-as well as David Biale's "Israel among the Nations," a lively primer on Jewish history and the core teachings of Judaism.
Making the rich narrative world of Talmud tales fully accessible to modern readers, renowned Talmud scholar Jeffrey L. Rubenstein turns his spotlight on both famous and little-known stories, analyzing the tales in their original contexts, exploring their cultural meanings and literary artistry, and illuminating their relevance. Delving into both rabbinic life (the academy, master-disciple relationships) and Jewish life under Roman and Persian rule (persecution, taxation, marketplaces), Rubenstein explains how storytellers used irony, wordplay, figurative language, and other art forms to communicate their intended messages. Each close reading demonstrates the story's continuing relevance through the generations into modernity. For example, the story "Showdown in Court," a confrontation between King Yannai and the Rabbinic judges, provides insights into controversial struggles in U.S. history to balance governmental power; the story of Honi's seventy-year sleep becomes a window into the indignities of aging. Through the prism of Talmud tales, Rubenstein also offers timeless insights into suffering, beauty, disgust, heroism, humor, love, sex, truth, and falsehood. By connecting twenty-first-century readers to past generations, The Land of Truth helps to bridge the divide between modern Jews and the traditional narrative worlds of their ancestors.
The first complete and annotated English translation of Maimon's influential and delightfully entertaining memoir Solomon Maimon's autobiography has delighted readers for more than two hundred years, from Goethe, Schiller, and George Eliot to Walter Benjamin and Hannah Arendt. The American poet and critic Adam Kirsch has named it one of the most crucial Jewish books of modern times. Here is the first complete and annotated English edition of this enduring and lively work. Born into a down-on-its-luck provincial Jewish family in 1753, Maimon quickly distinguished himself as a prodigy in learning. Even as a young child, he chafed at the constraints of his Talmudic education and rabbinical training. He recounts how he sought stimulation in the Hasidic community and among students of the Kabbalah--and offers rare and often wickedly funny accounts of both. After a series of picaresque misadventures, Maimon reached Berlin, where he became part of the city's famed Jewish Enlightenment and achieved the philosophical education he so desperately wanted, winning acclaim for being the "sharpest" of Kant's critics, as Kant himself described him. This new edition restores text cut from the abridged 1888 translation by J. Clark Murray, which has long been the only available English edition. Paul Reitter's translation is brilliantly sensitive to the subtleties of Maimon's prose while providing a fluid rendering that contemporary readers will enjoy, and is accompanied by an introduction and notes by Yitzhak Melamed and Abraham Socher that give invaluable insights into Maimon and his extraordinary life. The book also features an afterword by Gideon Freudenthal that provides an authoritative overview of Maimon's contribution to modern philosophy.
A leading expert provides an engaging firsthand portrait of American Judaism today American Judaism has been buffeted by massive social upheavals in recent decades. Like other religions in the United States, it has witnessed a decline in the number of participants over the past forty years, and many who remain active struggle to reconcile their hallowed traditions with new perspectives--from feminism and the LGBTQ movement to "do-it-yourself religion" and personally defined spirituality. Taking a fresh look at American Judaism today, Jack Wertheimer, a leading authority on the subject, sets out to discover how Jews of various orientations practice their religion in this radically altered landscape. Which observances still resonate, and which ones have been given new meaning? What options are available for seekers or those dissatisfied with conventional forms of Judaism? And how are synagogues responding? Wertheimer provides new and often-surprising answers to these questions by drawing on a wide range of sources, including survey data, visits to countless synagogues, and revealing interviews with more than two hundred rabbis and other informed observers. He finds that the majority of American Jews still identify with their faith but often practice it on their own terms. Meanwhile, gender barriers are loosening within religiously traditional communities, while some of the most progressive sectors are reappropriating long-discarded practices. Other recent developments include "start-ups" led by charismatic young rabbis, the explosive growth of Orthodox "outreach," and unconventional worship experiences often geared toward millennials. Wertheimer captures the remarkable, if at times jarring, tableaux on display when American Jews practice their religion, while also revealing possibilities for significant renewal in American Judaism. What emerges is a quintessentially American story of rash disruption and creative reinvention, religious illiteracy and dynamic experimentation.
The life of a congregational rabbi is often seen as an ivory-tower existence - full of prayers and piety - but Jonathan Romain's has radically departed from that image. Virtually no one has ever asked him about their spiritual life and instead he has dealt with a rollercoaster of crises, emotional traumas, moral dilemmas, attempts at seduction, multiple murders, Machiavellian families, funerals that go wrong, weddings that are hijacked, and fighting his way through a maze of other people's sexual fantasies. Nothing in rabbinic training ever hinted that this catalogue of human misery would become part of his calling, nor gave any clues as to how to handle it. Luckily, his previous careers - as a radio agony aunt, prison chaplain, postman and nightclub bouncer - gave him insights that proved very useful in navigating through the human jungle, and hopefully helping some of those he has met on the way. Candid, poignant and often hilarious, this highly original and very readable book offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into an extraordinary job dealing with timeless human scenarios.
Within this close textual analysis of the Babylonian Talmud, Yishai Kiel explores rabbinic discussions of sex in light of cultural assumptions and dispositions that pervaded the cultures of late antiquity and particularly the Iranian world. By negotiating the Iranian context of the rabbinic discussion alongside the Christian backdrop, this groundbreaking volume presents a balanced and nuanced portrayal of the rabbinic discourse on sexuality and situates rabbinic discussions of sex more broadly at the crossroads of late antique cultures. The study is divided into two thematic sections: the first centers on the broader aspects of rabbinic discourse on sexuality while the second hones in on rabbinic discussions of sexual prohibitions and the classification of permissible and prohibited partnerships, with particular attention to rabbinic discussions of incest. Essential reading for scholars and graduate students of Judaic studies, early Christianity, and Iranian studies, as well as those interested in religious studies and comparative religion.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER "Dennis Prager has put together one of the most stunning commentaries in modern times on the most profound document in human history. It's a must-read that every person, religious and non-religious, should buy and peruse every night before bed. It'll make you think harder, pray more ardently, and understand your civilization better." - Ben Shapiro, host of "The Ben Shapiro Show" "Dennis Prager's commentary on Exodus will rank among the greatest modern Torah commentaries. That is how important I think it is. And I am clearly not alone... It might well be on its way to becoming the most widely read Torah commentary of our time-and by non-Jews as well as by Jews." - Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, bestselling author of Jewish Literacy Why do so many people think the Bible, the most influential book in world history, is outdated? Why do our friends and neighbors - and sometimes we ourselves - dismiss the Bible as irrelevant, irrational, immoral, or all of these things? This explanation of the Book of Exodus, the second book of the Bible, will demonstrate that the Bible is not only powerfully relevant to today's issues, but completely consistent with rational thought. Do you think the Bible permitted the trans-Atlantic slave trade? You won't after reading this book. Do you struggle to love your parents? If you do, you need this book. Do you doubt the existence of God because belief in God is "irrational?" This book will give you reason after reason to rethink your doubts. The title of this commentary is, "The Rational Bible" because its approach is entirely reason-based. The reader is never asked to accept anything on faith alone. As Prager says, "If something I write does not make rational sense, I have not done my job." The Rational Bible is the fruit of Dennis Prager's forty years of teaching the Bible to people of every faith, and no faith. On virtually every page, you will discover how the text relates to the contemporary world and to your life. His goal: to change your mind - and then change your life.
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