Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

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Torah Thoughts, Rabbinic Mind, and Academic Freedom

Na’aseh Ve-Nishma


Zev Garber



Tithes: Supporting the Priests vs. Sustaining the Poor

Using source criticism to disentangle a moral problem in the Torah

Dr. Hacham

Isaac S. D. Sassoon



Making Ma’aser Work for the Times

In Leviticus and Numbers, ma’aser (tithing) refers to a Temple tax; in Deuteronomy, however, it refers either to what must be brought and consumed on a pilgrimage festival or to charity. This dichotomy led the rabbis to design the cumbersome system of the first and second tithes (maaser rishon and maaser sheni).

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber



Eating from Your Neighbor’s Field

Deuteronomy gives broad permission to eat your fill from a neighbor’s vineyard and grain field, so long as you don’t gather in a vessel or cut with an implement. Famously, the disciples of Jesus gather grain on the Sabbath, earning the Pharisees’ wrath not for theft but for violating Shabbat. Commentators debate the reason for this law and whether it has any limits.

Prof. Rabbi

Shaye J. D. Cohen



Gleanings for the Poor – Justice, Not Charity

The agricultural allocations for the poor outlined in Leviticus and Deuteronomy are a series of negative commandments, in which God forbids Israelite householders from gathering some of their produce and requires them to leave it for the poor. The rabbis took these laws a step further, granting the poor property rights over the allocations even before they are gathered.


Gregg E. Gardner



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