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Moses Mendelssohn

Does the Torah Differentiate between an Unpaid and a Paid Bailee?

For the first nine hundred years after the writing of the Mishnah in the early third century, Jews thought that laws about bailees or custodians (שומרים) in the Mishnah and in the Talmud corresponded closely to the plain meaning (peshat) of the Torah. But in the Middle Ages, Rashbam challenged that assumption, proposing an understanding of the Torah that contradicted Jewish law.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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The Mitzvah to Love God: Shadal's Polemic against the Philosophical Interpretation

Philosophically inclined rabbis, such as Maimonides, attempted to understand the mitzvah to love God in Aristotelian terms, imagining God as a non-anthropomorphic abstract being. Shadal argues that this elitist approach twists both Torah and philosophy, and in its place, he offers a moralistic approach that can be achieved by all Jews.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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Moses Mendelssohn's Be'ur: Translating the Torah in the Age of Enlightenment

Moses Mendelssohn’s Be’ur (1780-83) was the first Jewish translation of the Torah into standard German. Motivated by religious and cultural needs, Mendelssohn took advantage of the translation revolution already underway in eighteenth-century Germany—and also included many striking innovations.

Dr.

Abigail Gillman

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Whom May a Kohen Gadol Marry?

Rashbam’s New Peshat

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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