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War

"Are Trees of the Field Human?"

Deuteronomy 20:19 forbids the chopping down of fruit trees during war-time, and offers the cryptic explanation כי האדם עץ השדה (ki ha-adam etz hasadeh), but what does this mean?[1]

Dr.

Shai Secunda

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Keeping Excrement out of God's Presence

The Torah requires all Israelite soldiers to carry a shovel with them for covering their feces, outside the war camp, because God is in the camp. Jewish interpreters have grappled with the meaning of this law: the Qumranites and Karaites assume feces must be impure, the rabbis extend the law to prayer and Torah study, and some medievalist interpreted the law homiletically, as a goad towards maintaining human decency at all times, even during war.

Prof.

Alan Cooper

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Honoring the Death of Soldiers

The concept of heroic death is conspicuously absent in Bible. This sharply contrasts with ancient Near Eastern and Greek tropes, as well as with the book of Maccabees and modern day commemorations such as Israel’s Yom Hazikaron and America’s Memorial Day. How should we understand this difference?[1]

Dr.

Jacob L. Wright

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An Ancient Precedent for the Yom Kippur War?

Two Roman conquests of Jerusalem (Pompey in 63 B.C.E. and Sosius in 37 B.C.E.) purportedly happened on “the day of the fast,” during which the Jews barely defended themselves. Is this a reference to Yom Kippur and why didn’t the Jews defend themselves?

Dr.

Nadav Sharon

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The Midianite War: Where Is Joshua?

Project TABS Editors

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What Caused the War Between the Kings? Philo's Dual Interpretation

In his account of Abraham’s life, the first-century thinker Philo of Alexandria skillfully interprets the bewildering details in the story of the war between the four and five kings. Understanding the tale on a literal and allegorical level, he offers intriguing suggestions about what motivates both powerful rulers and forces within the soul.

Dr.

Ellen Birnbaum

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Maimonides' Purim and Chanukah Message of Peace

Both Chanukah and Purim are celebrations of Jewish victory over their enemies. Nevertheless, in the Mishneh Torah, Maimonides, making use of aggada, turns these into holidays of peace.[1]

Prof.

Menachem Kellner

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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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