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Divorce

Marrying a Beautiful Captive Woman

If an Israelite wishes to marry a woman taken captive in war, she becomes part of the Israelite polity and is protected from future re-enslavement. Uncomfortable with the Torah’s permitting this marriage, the rabbis declare it to be a compromise to man’s “evil impulse,” an idea reminiscent of Jesus’ claim that the Torah allows divorce as a compromise to humanity’s “hard heart.”

Prof. Rabbi

Shaye J. D. Cohen

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Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Did Moses Become Celibate?

The Israelite men are commanded to separate from their wives before the revelation at Sinai. The rabbis learn from this that Moses permanently separated from his wife (Num 12), to be available to speak with God at all times. Joseph ibn Kaspi (14th c.), however, claims that this distorts the plain meaning of the text and that celibacy is an affront to Jewish values.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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The Sotah Ritual: Permitting a Jealous Husband to Remain with His Wife

The root ק.נ.א “jealous zeal” in the chapter on the sotah (Numbers 5) highlights a key goal of the ritual and its accompanying offering, namely, to remove the husband’s jealous zeal and allow him to remain with his wife without guilt.

Prof.

Hanna Liss

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Remarrying Your Ex-Wife

Why can’t a man remarry his wife once she has been married to someone else?

Dr.

Eve Levavi Feinstein

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Purity of Priests: Contamination through Marriage

The Torah (Leviticus 21) and Ezekiel (ch. 44, Haftarat Emor) regulate whom priests may marry. What rationale lies behind these laws? 

Dr.

Eve Levavi Feinstein

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Moses and the Kushite Woman: Classic Interpretations and Philo's Allegory

Ancient interpreters debated the identify of Moses’ Kushite wife and the nature of Miriam and Aaron’s complaint. Philo allegorizes her as an eye’s perfect focus, reflecting Moses’ direct perception of God. Reading this together with Philo’s allegorical understanding of Zipporah as a “bird” with direct access to heaven highlights the greatness of Moses’ wife as the fourth matriarch of Israel.[1]

Dr.

Elad Filler

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When Is a Man Allowed to Divorce his Wife?

Deuteronomy’s description of the circumstances of divorce is ambiguous. Thus, the Mishnah (m. Gittin 9:10) records three different opinions on when a man is allowed to divorce his wife. What can we infer from the biblical text?

Dr.

Eve Levavi Feinstein

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Biblical Exegesis as a Source of Jewish Pluralism: The Case of the Karaites

Karaism is often characterized by its rejection of the Talmud in favor of a super-literalist interpretation of the Torah. But Karaism is better understood as an alternate, parallel form of Judaism based on the Bible.

Prof.

Daniel J. Lasker

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