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Jewish Political Theory

It is often said that neither the Bible nor Judaism has a theory of politics or, indeed, of political systems. Neither is true.  For two thousand years, Jews lived under political systems where, even when they had a degree of communal political self-rule, it was always subservient to the ruling powers and systems of their host lands. After all this…

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Unfair to Women

We live in interesting times where men may be women and women, men, and combinations of both and transitions in and out of the other. This is a reflection of the process of evolution or as some might say the slippery slope the western secular world is on, towards making no distinction at all. And in our societies, there are…

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Sorry

You are walking down a crowded New York street minding your own business, careful to avoid bumping into anyone else. And an oncoming body smashes into you. He or she will ignore you or perhaps say “sorry” and you might say “sorry” back. Why? The offender doesn’t care. Otherwise he or she would have been more careful. And why are…

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When the Law is Petty

Halacha, is often translated as Jewish Law. But that is inadequate and misleading. Nowadays we usually use the word law, as in, say, Roman Law, American Law or Civil Law to mean Jurisprudence.  Halacha however is much more than this. It is the equivalent of the generic term “Torah.” It incorporates teachings as well as laws. It includes ethics, personal morality,…

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Oaths

Anyone who has attended a Kol Nidreiservice will know that there are seven terms in Hebrew and Aramaic for vows and oaths. And three for the meaning of the process of commitment. They must have been incredibly significant once. Nowadays, not so much. The Bible is full of them. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all swore to God. They swore to other…

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Apologetics

We live nowadays in a world where, more than ever before, our ideas and values have come under scrutiny and assault. What makes our times more interesting is that we have ready access not only to ideas that challenge us, but also to ideas that support us. The question is how we can work out which ideas contain value. And…

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