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Archive for December, 2009

Someone in Shas May Not Know Torah

There was recently a meeting of the Knesset Subcommittee on Trafficking of Women, a serious problem in Israel. Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev had another gem of ignorance leave his lips. Here is the report from Yisrael HaYom (Dec. 24, 2009, p. 17). The committee was discussing a law which would call for a six-month sentence […]

AJS 2009

So far AJS 2009 is going well. Because of weather-related travel issues there seems to be a smaller crowd, with no small number of people having to cancel their presentations. I also noticed that most of the book publishers are giving pretty small discounts. A few are giving discounts of 30%, but others are giving […]

Two New Books on Medieval European Jewry

H-German has a review of two new books on Medieval European Jewry. The first book is Susan L. Einbinder, No Place of Rest: Jewish Literature, Expulsion, and the Memory of Medieval France. The second book is David Joshua Malkiel, Reconstructing Ashkenaz: The Human Face of Franco-German Jewry, 1000-1250. I finally arrived at the AJS conference […]

The Origins of the Word Hanukkiyah

If one were to conduct any type of search for the word חנוכייה, Hanukkiyah, in Hebrew literature before the 20th century they would most likely come up empty. The word simply does not exist in Biblical, Talmudic, nor Medieval Hebrew literature. In the Temple there was the מנורה, and when describing what one lights during […]

Group Torah learning on a train

Group Torah learning on a train: (The emphases are mine-MM) Q: Is it permissible to learn Torah in a group on the train if it may bother others? A: It is certainly forbidden. When one travels on the train, he cannot bother others. The train is not a shul or yeshiva. If a person wants […]

Improvement of JNUL Website

I am not sure if this is old and I just never noticed it, but the JNUL seems to have a new web page which has links to many of the important MSS and early printed editions that they have on their website in one place.

Two Different Take on Yaakov Neeman’s Remarks

Much has been written about the Israeli Minister of Justice Yaakov Neeman’s remarks about Jewish law. There are two different comments on the episode in Haaretz. The first by Anshel Pfeffer can be found here. His conclusion, “Bring it on.” The second, by Seth Farber, places Neeman’s comments within their political context and his battles […]

Elisha and Hanukkah

Martin Cohen explains here how the story of the Hanukkah “miracle oil” may be a midrash on the story of Elisha and the flask of oil in 2 Kings 9.

Yosef Hayyim Yerushalmi and Hanukkah

Yosef Hayyim Yerushalmi will probably be remembered most for his book Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory. I am sure that much will be written about it in the coming months, and I cannot but echo Yaakov Lozowick’s recommendation to read it. Its publication generated much controversy and it is one of those few books […]

Moshe Gil on Jewish Nationhood

The great historian Moshe Gil wrote the following in his book A History of Palestine: 634-1099, p. 490, over ten years ago. The question often heard today, generally from elements unfriendly to the Jews, as to whether the Jews are a nation or only a religious community, did not trouble the Jews of the mediaeval […]

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