Esther, Feminist Ethics, and the Creation of Jewish Community
How can the mitzvot of Purim reveal the feminist ethics of the Megillah? Aton Holzer offers an enlightening new reading of the Megillah, suggesting that there is a profound connection between the text's structure and its ethics.
Guilt and Shame Cultures in the Thought of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Marc Eichenbaum explores the idea of guilt and shame cultures in the thought of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks z"tl, which provides a novel interpretation of Torah and a powerful lesson for contemporary society.
The Gift of Shabbat as the Trace of God’s Caring Hand on our Faces
Ezra Zuckerman Sivan explains how an enigmatic passage in Masekhet Shabbat teaches us how we can use Shabbat to connect to an oft-hidden God.
Revelation Deferred but not Denied: the Golden Calf as a Rabbinic Origin Story
Amitai Bin-Nun provides a fresh and intriguing perspective on the story of the Golden Calf by reading it in light of the Talmudic passage in Menahot detailing an encounter between Moses and R. Akiba on Mt. Sinai where God is tying crowns to the letters of the Torah scroll.
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.