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Jul 1, 2019, 10:53 PM
Undocumented Aliens in the Bible (and in the News)
In the book of Genesis, when God calls on Abram, and offers to bless him, God does not explain what qualifies this man for the encounter and blessing (12:1). Later, we get a hint. God characterizes the man’s good...
Mar 18, 2019, 10:34 AM
For Parshat Zakhor A few weeks ago, I needed to fill the gas can so I could use my snow blower. I noticed that the gas pump at has a sign warning that people must use a certified safe gas...
Mar 13, 2019, 11:34 AM
Imagine a belief system with only one value, a faith with one sacrament: Maximize immediate return on investment. How would devotees of that faith behave? What consequences would follow from that devotion? Customers: Corporations must provide, or seem to provide,...
Nov 4, 2018, 11:41 PM
Avraham Purchases a Gravesite and We Mourn
I do not know enough about real estate practices in ancient Israel to know what is distinctive about the transaction in which Avraham buys a burial plot for Sarah (Gen. 23). The transaction must have distinctive features, or it...
Sep 7, 2018, 6:08 PM
Home Health Aide
Once upon a time, not long ago, an elderly couple experienced cascading health emergencies; fortunately, they found a health care aide who provided the support they needed at each stage of their inevitable decline. Now this was not an ordinary...
Jul 31, 2018, 5:50 AM
In memory of Yaakov Elman
As a teenager, the renowned Talmud professor was a fan of Scottish Ballads, Luis Borge and Babylonian mythology
Jan 7, 2018, 8:40 PM
A Thought Experiment for Jewish Parents
Suppose you could give your children a magic pill that would guarantee that they would never depart from the Jewish commitments that you teach them. Why stop with children? Suppose the pill would guarantee the same for your grandchildren. Should...
Dec 8, 2017, 7:35 PM
Fairy Tales about recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
Fairy tales about why the United States had not already recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and why the Embassy is not already there. The Knesset meets in Jerusalem. The Prime Minister’s offices and residence are located in Jerusalem. ...
Nov 21, 2017, 12:07 AM
The Enlightenment in Islam Then and in Judaism Now
The journalist Christopher de Bellaigue just came out with a fascinating, if heavy, tome entitled The Islamic Enlightenment. The book’s subtitle describes its wide scope: The Struggle between Faith and Reason 1798 to Modern Times. As I have been...
Oct 15, 2017, 10:05 PM
Boundaries of Loyalty
Testimony against Fellow Jews: A Book Review Boundaries of Loyalty: Testimony against Fellow Jews in Non-Jewish Courts By Rabbi Saul J. Berman. Cambridge University Press: 2016. In second century Babylonia, a rabbinic leader, probably Rava, ruled that “If a Jew knows evidence...
Louis Finkelman teaches Literature and Writing at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan. He serves as half of the rabbinic team at Congregation Or Chadash in Oak Park, Michigan.