Rethinking Judaism in Early America

Did the Founding Fathers study Kabbalah? Yisroel Ben-Porat reviews Brian Ogren’s new book Kabbalah and the Founding of America.

Rabbeinu Bahya and the Case of the Mysterious Medieval Lightning Rod

Did Rabbeinu Bahya mention a lightning rod centuries before it was discovered? Yaakov Taubes takes us on a journey through science, magic, and religion to help explain this medieval commentator’s cryptic comment about the Tower of Babel.

Man is not God: The Limits of Imitatio Dei

David Fried clarifies the concept of imitating God through Rashi's oft-neglected reading of “It is not good for man to be alone”

What Do We Know About Moses’s Burial Place?

Ezra Zuckerman Sivan explains what it means when the Torah says that Moses's burial site was hidden.

Outside Help in the Teshuvah Process

With Hoshanah Rabbah today and the theme of repentance in mind, Jack Cohen explores the role that outsiders play in one's teshuva process through an enigmatic midrash instructing one to return a person to themselves.

When God Appeases Man: Yom Kippur in a Time of Exile

Yom Kippur marks the end of an 11 week period when thematic haftarot about the destruction of the Temple, consolation following its loss, and repentance replace haftarot connected to the weekly Torah reading. What can this grouping teach us about the nature of forgiveness and reconciliation? Hannah Abrams explains.

Liturgical Repetition: When Singing Becomes Sacrilegious

With the High Holidays approaching, a time iconic for its songful liturgy, Moshe Kurtz scrutinizes the practice of cantors repeating words during davening.

A New Book Brings Hebrew Language and Liturgy to Life

Daniel A. Klein Review of Links to Our Legacy: Insights into Hebrew, History, and Liturgy, by Mitchell First (Kodesh Press, 2021). On my first trip to...

“And I will Betroth You unto Me”: On Fading Tefillin Strap Marks

In an earlier Lehrhaus piece, Jeffrey Saks pointed to an obscure custom referenced by Shai Agnon not to eat until the tefillin strap marks fade from one’s arm. Here, Mois Navon shares what happened when he tried adopting this custom for himself.

The Children of the Beautiful Captive

Miriam Gedwiser explains how the Rabbis of the Talmud put the law of yefat to'ar in conversation with the David narrative, and what this teaches us about how we should approach passages of this nature.