Enlightening the Eyes

The Full Spectrum of Jewish learning

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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History, Memory, and Meaning of Jewish History

From the Introduction of The Creation of Jewish Identity: From the Biblical Era to the Second Temple Period. A great many Jewish holidays and practices, in their earliest understanding, reflect the great innovation of Biblical religion. The Bible emphasized historical events in contrast to...

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Transmitting Unbelief to the Next Jewish Generation

I wrote the following ten years ago while attending the Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago. It is even more resounding today. I was aware of the demographic changes which reveal a declining and aging Jewish population in the United States and as well as a growing...

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The Bracha of Learning Differently

Do you learn differently than others? I do! I like to read aloud. Ever since I was little for me to truly “get” it, I would read my subjects aloud and with emotion. I think learning differently than others can be a bracha in disguise! You learn to take complex subjects and break...

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