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Archive for February, 2009

Yeshayau Leibowitz and Israel Eldad

They don’t make ’em like they used to. (Hebrew)

Halakhah Uproots Torah and James Kugel

In his comments on last week’s parashah, Yeshayu Leibowitz pointed out an interesting comment by the Gaon of Vilna on Exodus 21:5-6. ‏ואם־אמר יאמר העבד אהבתי את־אדני את־אשׁתי ואת־בני לא אצא חפשׁי׃ ‎‏ והגישׁו אדניו אל־האלהים והגישׁו אל־הדלת או אל־המזוזה ורצע אדניו את־אזנו במרצע ועבדו לעלם׃ Ex. 21:5 But if the slave declares, “I love […]

Haym Soloveitchik Lecture at Fifth Ave. Synagogue

Forwarded to me by my friend JB.

Benjamin Franklin’s Library Online

PhiloBiblos has announced the completion of the cataloging of Benjamin Franklin’s library on Library Thing. The catalogue can be browsed here. A book about his library can be viewed here.

French Bibliographic Database

While doing an on-line search I came across an excellent bibliographic search engine from the National Center for Scientific Research in France. The database is from the Cat.instit and can be found here. Cat.inist [is access to] about 15 million bibliographic records (back to 1973) of documents held in the INIST/CNRS collections and covering all […]

Dictionary of Jewish Surnames

The Canadian Jewish News has an article about Alexander Beider’s revised edition of his book A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire. Beider has also published other volumes on surnames from Poland and Galicia. Surnames derived from place-names are also common. The name Bobrushkin is linked to the town of Bobrujsk; Drubicher is […]


Parshat Mishpatim from More Torah cartoons at (hat tip: my wife)

How Did the Rabbis Learn Hebrew?

Balshanut summarizes Philip S. Alexander’s article “How did the Rabbis learn Hebrew?” Hebrew was acquired in the Jewish school system, and schools were widespread in Jewish communities of Palestine from late Second Temple times into the Talmudic period. The elementary level was the Bet Sefer (ages 6 – 9) followed by the Bet Talmud (9-13). […]

A Visit to Sotheby’s

Today we went on a family outing to see the Valmadonna Trust Library. It really was a breath-taking exhibit. Although my kids had little patience for me continuously stopping to look at specific books, hopefully one day they’ll understand how important it was to see this collection. There are still a few days left to […]

Second Temple Synagogues

The dating and ubiquitousness of ancient synagogues is the subject of some controversy, e.g. see here. Donald D. Binder has a nice web site surveying Second Temple Synagogues where you can find much information about numerous synagogues and inscriptions. One of the most interesting finds is the Theodotus inscription. Theodotus, (son) of Vettenus, priest and […]

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