Kingdom of Priests
Hebrew Bible & Oral Torah Archives

Back when my first book came out, there was another memoir also about a Jew returning to Judaism that was published around the same time. It was Turbulent Souls by Stephen J. Dubner, who has since gone from strength to […]

The week’s Torah portion poses a serious challenge, I think, to secular scholars of the Hebrew Bible and other skeptics who maintain that the Pentateuch was composed no earlier than about 500 BCE. Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19) begins the Torah’s overwhelmingly, […]

Where is Mt. Sinai? And does it matter? The second question is easier to answer than the first. If God’s giving the Ten Commandments to Moses there is a historical event then yes, wanting to attach a genuine geographical location […]

No institution in Torah is more central than the Sabbath, with its twin themes of commemorating the creation of the world and the exodus from Egypt — the two pillars of Judaism, without which there can be no Judaism, and […]

Isn’t it interesting that there’s no adequate one out there, among all the countless versions, commentaries, etc.? I have, among ancient authors, entirely pleasing translations of Tacitus, Herodotus, Josephus, and so on, so that I don’t feel any particular need […]

Under my post The Jewish Case for Christmas, there was starting to develop a thread of conversation that I didn’t feel comfortable with. One reader cast up a bunch of quotes he found on the Internet about Jesus as portrayed […]

I heard an interesting insight from a rabbi friend today on the 17th-century hymn “Shalom Aleichem,” sung on Friday night before the Sabbath dinner. The song welcomes “ministering angels, angels of the Most High” and asks them, “Bless me with […]

More objections from adherents of Biblical literalist creationism to my recent posts on the subject have been coming in. Some are thoughtful and raise subtle distinctions. As a Facebook friend writes:  I just wanted to register the fact, without rancor, that I […]

I got some emails from self-described Biblical literalist creationists objecting to my calling such literalism “naive.” I’ve been pondering whether there’s a better word for it but so far I’m stumped. I guess you could characterize creationism simply as “Biblical […]

This Shabbat, starting here in Seattle at 6:02 p.m. tonight, we begin again the yearly cycle of Torah readings, starting with Genesis 1. With that in mind, I was thinking about this teasing retort from a reader, Sondra, responding to […]