Rabbi Elazar Ben Dordaya: The Master of Teshuvah

Shloime Schwartz looks at the numerous lessons about Teshuvah that the commentaries derive from the story of Rabbi Elazar ben Dordaya.

Secular Music and the Jewish Soul

The Talmud criticizes the heretic Elisha ben Avuyah, or Aher, for listening to Greek music. But what did he do wrong? Todd Berman uses a close reading of Rashi’s comments on the Talmudic passage to explain.

The Difference Between Lo Tahmod and Lo Tit’avveh: An Insight Based on the Hitpa’el

Mitchell First explains the difference in the wording of the tenth commandment in Exodus and Deutoronomy in light of a grammatical insight by Benno Jacob.

Kamtza and Bar Kamtza in the Age of Cancel Culture

The Talmudic story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza is often used to highlight the destructive consequences of baseless hatred. In an intriguing reading, David Hellman suggests that the hatred that motivated the tale’s participants is more complex than meets the eye.

Joyful Planting: COVID and the Prohibition of Planting During the Three Weeks

Erica Brown considers the little-discussed prohibition on planting during the Nine Days and what it teaches about the nature of mourning and joy.

The Zogerke’s Vort

The zogerke or firzogerin, once the vernacular translator in the women’s section of the synagogue, has faded into distant memory. Dalia Wolfson reimagines her for our times.

From Polemic to Pandemic: The Past, Present, and Future of Hazarat ha-Shatz

Post-pandemic proposals to omit hazarat ha-shatz on a permanent basis have been soundly rejected by halakhic authorities. Is this due exclusively to halakhic considerations, or are additional factors at play? Yosie Levine contends that Ashkenazic rabbinic opposition to 19th-century attempts to eliminate hazarat ha-shatz may still be shaping halakhic discourse today.

Must Creativity and Rigor be Either/Or?

In his review of Michael Hattin’s commentaries on the books of Joshua and Judges, Francis Nataf explores how greater collaboration between creative Tanakh teachers could help reduce the number of overly speculative readings.

The Pitfalls of Excessive Rabbinic Honorifics

What is the appropriate way to address a rabbi? Moshe Kurtz offers a thoughtful perspective on lay usage of rabbinic titles.

Shadal: Translated, Elucidated, and Uncensored at Last

Martin Lockshin reviews Daniel A. Klein’s translation of Samuel David Luzzatto’s commentary on the Book of Vayikra, the latest volume in Klein’s project to translate all of Shadal’s insightful and ever-interesting Torah commentary.