Should Jacob have conquered Canaan?

David Curwin explores the evidence that Jacob may have made a fatal mistake in not conquering Canaan upon returning.

U-shemor Nafshekha: The Curious History of the (Supposed) Mitzvah to Maintain One’s Health

What does the Torah mean when it says to "guard your nefesh (soul)"? Lehrhaus editor David Fried reevaluates the common understanding of a Torah mandate for healthy living.

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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.

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.

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.