Virtual Talmud

The Torah prohibits eating bread or any form of leavened product, chametz, during Passover. The penalty for eating or even owning chametz is severe: being cut off from the people Israel (Exodus 12:15). Such a punishment sounds descriptive rather proscriptive: […]

Rabbi Waxman makes my point: those who get stuck on an “all or nothing approach” (i.e. proving or disproving the historicity of the Exodus) miss the point of the eternal values the story contains. However, that rule goes for both […]

I agree with Rabbi Waxman that the power and relevance of the Exodus lies not in whether we can historically verify the details of its story but in the truths it contains. The most obvious are the nature of the […]

Rabbi Stern writes that in America anti-Semitism is as dead as a door nail. I wish it were true. While the Anti-Defamation League recently reported that the number of anti-Semitic incidents were down by 12 percent from 2005, the Klu […]

What is it about Jews and food? It’s more than our obsession with finding a good bagel. It’s our almost pathological need for conspicuous consumption. We always have to have more than enough. Perhaps it is the collective unconscious of […]

We are highlighting this response to Rabbi Stern’s post on Judaism & domestic violence as a service to our blog readership. I thank Rabbi Stern for his comments on domestic violence and for drawing attention to the work of JSafe. […]

I agree with Rabbi Waxman that corporal punishment sends the wrong message to children about solving problems with violence and therefore should have no place in family life. His comments remind me of a larger issue: the systemic failure of […]

I disagree with Rabbi Waxman’s suggestion that what distinguishes Haman from the historic villain Hitler or today’s Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is that Haman jumped to the chase in seeking the total annihilation of the Jewish people immediately, rather than […]

No one is who they appear to be in the Book of Esther, which we read on the upcoming holiday of Purim. Vashti seems an all-powerful queen, yet she overestimates her power and is removed from office, probably not pleasantly, […]

When thinking about the recent decision on the part of the Conservative Movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards to allow gay ordination and marriage, I try to remind myself that I really don’t like criticizing people and institutions when […]