Enlightening the Eyes

The Full Spectrum of Jewish learning

The Converso Dilemma

The year was 1391. Spring was about to turn into summer. The Jewish communities of Castile and Ara-gon had undergone difficult times for more than thirty years. A civil war fought in the middle decade of the 14th century put Jews in a no-win situation. They were loyal and supported the ruling...

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The Conquest of Mexico and the Boundaries between Judaism and Christianity

In a lecture that discussed the conquest of the Mexican Empire, Professor Martin Rios asked a simple question. Did Mexico and Spain exist in the 16th century as we understand them today? The answer was an unequivocal no. Spain, as we think of it, was, in reality, two separate kingdoms, i.e., the...

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Reclaiming Enoch

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Differing Views of Jewish Living Based on Differing Definitions of Jewish Identity

Defining or describing a Jewish lifestyle assumes that one understands the meaning of Jewish identity. What constitutes Jewish living is therefore connected with the age old question of who is a Jew or what constitutes Jewishness. The variety of answers to this question causes Jewish living to...

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My Name is Asher Lev

The novel, My Name is Asher is Lev written by Chaim Potok relates the story of a young Hasidic prodigy gifted with artistic talent. The story introduces the world of the fictional “Landover” Hasidim very akin to the Lubavitcher Hasidim. Inevitably however, his gift and passion for art push the...

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Tractate Makkot Mishnah 8b: A Summary and Explanation

The Mishnah of Makkot 8b states the following: מתני האב גולה על ידי הבן והבן גולה ע"י האב הכל גולין על ידי ישראל וישראל גולין על ידיהן חוץ מגר תושב וגר תושב אינו גולה אלא על ידי גר תושב: “The father goes into banishment for [the death of his son and the son goes into banishment for [that of ]...

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The Jewish Question

The status of Jews in the dominant culture or territories they resided in has been a critical issue for most of Jewish history since the fall of the Second Temple. The failed Jewish War against Rome, which lasted from 66-73CE, resulted in tragedy.. But the place of Jews in a polytheistic culture...

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Insights on the Dangers of Power and Position

The Role of the Ruling Powers The Sages included in the Pirkei Avot cover a period beginning with the era following the exiles’ return from Babylon through the second century of the Common Era. This period covers a wide variety of individuals, including the last member of the Great Assembly,...

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Interview with Dr. Bejarano Gutierrez Discussing Killing the Torah

Dr. Val Karanxha interviewed me about my new book titled, Killing the Torah: The Roots of Christian Anti-Judaism and Anti-Semitism. Check out the podcast below! Interview with Dr. Bejarano Gutierrez in Judaic Studies “Killing the Torah” Book Promotion (buzzsprout.com) From the book: Despite...

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Free Will and Determinism in Jewish Thought

The principle story of Parashat Toldot centers on the birth of Isaac’s two sons, Jacob and Esau. Their birth serves to convey G-d’s fidelity to the promises he made to Abraham to provide him future descendants to inherit the land of Canaan. Yet the lives and decisions of both Jacob and Esau also...

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