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Rashi

Creation from Primordial Matter: Did Rashi Read Plato’s Timaeus?

Rashi interprets the opening verses of the creation story as describing God’s use of primordial substances to form the world. This idea appears in various forms in rabbinic literature but some of Rashi’s particular notions are only found in Plato’s Timaeus. Could this be one of Rashi’s sources?

Prof.

Warren Zev Harvey

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Tikkunei Soferim and the Ironic Emendation of Rashi's Interpretation

Do the rabbis believe that the scribes changed the wording of some verses in the Bible? A look at how the great medieval rabbi, Rashi, reacted to one “correction” sheds light on the history of the Jewish belief in the inviolability of the Torah text.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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A Wife for Isaac: From Abraham's Hometown or Family?

Abraham’s servant says that his master told him to take a wife for Isaac from his family, but Abraham said no such thing. Why does the servant say this and why did medieval pashtanim ignore this blatant discrepancy?[1]

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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Does Rashi's Torah Commentary Respond to Christianity?

Moses promises that if Israel forsakes the covenant, God will destroy them permanently (Deut 4:25-26). Drawing on a midrash, Rashi explains that God exiled Israel early to avoid having to wipe them out; thus, God never actualized this threat. Considering Rashi’s responses to Christian ideas in other biblical texts, Rashi's comment on Deut 4:25 may well be an apologetic effort to prove that God’s covenant with the Jews remains intact.

Dr.

Yedida Eisenstat

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The Obscure Ephod of the High Priest

The Torah mentions the ephod as something the high priest would wear, but never describes it clearly, and neither do the Talmudic sages. Medieval scholars like Rashi and Rashbam use their creativity and analytical skill to try to tease this out from the biblical text.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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The Ethical Problem of Hardening Pharaoh's Heart

It seems unethical for God to deny Pharaoh free will and then punish him for his actions. Rashi, Nahmanides, and Maimonides all struggle with this problem, and each assumes that even Pharaoh deserves to be treated fairly.[1]

Prof. Rabbi

Shaul Magid

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How God Was Sanctified through Nadav and Avihu's Death

After the shocking death of Nadav and Avihu, Moses says to Aaron that this is what God meant when he said, “through those near to me I will sanctify Myself.”  Rashi, Rashbam, and Nahmanides struggle to understand the meaning of Moses’ message.

Prof.

James A. Diamond

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