Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

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Morality & Ethics

Did Israel Celebrate their Freedom While Owning Slaves?

Celebrating the “Time of our Freedom” with a look at the of problem of non-Israelite slavery in the Torah.

Dr. Hacham

Isaac S. D. Sassoon

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The Concept of Kedusha (Sanctity)

In the Priestly Torah and the Holiness School

Prof.

Israel Knohl

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Supporting the Priests vs. Sustaining the Poor

Using Source Criticism to Disentangle a Moral Problem in the Torah

Dr. Hacham

Isaac S. D. Sassoon

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Was There Ever an Ir Hannidahat (Subverted City)?

The rabbis claim that a “subverted” or “apostate” city, which Deuteronomy (13:13-18) condemns to destruction, “never was and never will be” (t. San. 14:1). Yet the account in Judges 19-21 of the destruction or ḥerem of Gibeah, its inhabitants, animals, and property, suggests that such “internal ḥerem” was an Israelite practice, and that Gibeah is being presented as a subverted city.

Prof.

Aaron Demsky

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Torat Emet: Truth Spoken through the Humble Human Experience

Dr. Rabbi

Elisha Ancselovits

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Morality and Prepositions: On Taking a Mother on her Young

How the biblical law makes use of a martial idiom to forbid Israel from being cruel to a mother bird.

Dr.

Tzvi Novick

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Psalm 137:9 - A Verse to Criticize

A Historical-Critical Reading 

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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A Microcosm of an Imperfect Bible

Dr. Rabbi

Norman Solomon

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Torah Min Ha-Shamayim: A Guide to the Four Questions

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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The Treatment of Non-Israelite Slaves: From Moses to Moses

The Bible already expresses ambivalence about Hebrew slavery, the rabbis expand upon it and Maimonides takes the next step, applying the negative evaluation of slavery even to non-Israelites.

Prof.

James A. Diamond

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The Moral Quandary of Lulav Ha-Gazul

The Torah and Bavli vs. the Prophets and Yerushalmi

Dr.

Jonathan Ben-Dov

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Critiquing the Moral Failings in the Bible

A Time-Honored Tradition

Dr. Rabbi

Eugene Korn

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“Cursed Is One Who Does Not Uphold the Words of This Torah”?

The anomalous and paradoxical nature of the twelfth curse (Deuteronomy 27:26).

Rabbi

Uzi Weingarten

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Obliterating Cherem

The Torah describes a practice of declaring people cherem, which means that the person, and—in some cases—his family, would be annihilated, and his possessions donated to the Temple. The rabbis were unhappy with this law and used their homiletical approach to “obliterate” it.

Dr. Hacham

Isaac S. D. Sassoon

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The Elusive Benefits of Objectionable and Outdated Texts

Tanakh as Beyond the Sum of Its Parts

Prof.

Tamar Ross

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The Megillat Esther Massacre

Confronting the description in Megillat Esther of the Jews killing 75,000 including women and children

Prof.

Meylekh (PV) Viswanath

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Marrying Your Daughter to Her Rapist

A Test Case in Dealing with Morally Problematic Biblical Laws

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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