Archive for the 'Misc' Category

The Sin of Sodom

November 18th, 2005 by Yaakov Ellis

ADDeRabbi posts about the real sin of the city of Sodom. He writes that the sin was primarily the motivations, rather than the actions, of the citizens of Sodom.

(However, most of the commentaries on the passuk do not go this far, but rather define the primary sins of Sodom as inappropriate sexual behavior and love of theft/robbery)

Rivka’s Age II

November 15th, 2005 by Yaakov Ellis

parshablog responds to DovBear’s post about Rivka’s age with different insights to the midrashim at the root of the issue, as well as a comment on midrashim in general.

A choice quote:

One thing I have seen is that people in general have an unsophisticated view of midrash. Midrash is a close reading of text, which picks up on fine points, details and nuances. It often serves a homiletic purpose, or emphasises/exaggerates features that are in the literal story itself. It is also an art form.

Those who take every midrash absolutely literally are missing the point. Those who try to harmonize competing midrashim are missing the point. Those who are upset at the midrash and rail against it because they think it improbable or against a literal reading are also missing the point.

Well put. Midrashim are not there to be quoted willy-nilly to make whatever proof the reader wants to make. Each midrash is coming to address one specific aspect of a character, story, theme, etc. Most are not meant to be taken literally. And all must be viewed and studied in context in order to make sense.

How Old was Rivka when she Married Yitzchak?

November 14th, 2005 by Yaakov Ellis

DovBear discusses how old Rivka really was when she married Yitzchak.

Hint: there are some opinions out there that say that Rivka was older than three years old. (Don’t forget the comments)

She’s my Sister – Again!

November 14th, 2005 by Yaakov Ellis

Moshe shares some insights into Avraham’s strategy for protecting his wife, by twice (once Egypt, once by the Pelishtim) calling her his sister.

Who Wrote the Bible (according to Ibn Ezra)?

November 11th, 2005 by Yaakov Ellis

ADDeRabbi writes about the different controversional)interpretations of Ibn Ezra’s comment on והכנעני אז בארץ in Bereishit 12:6.

I personally remember discussing this topic with my rebbi from Yeshiva. He related a story that he witnessed (or he heard from an eyewitness) where one of the previous Roshei Yeshiva from Yeshivat haKotel was asked by someone in a shiur about this Ibn Ezra, to which he responded that there is no way that Ibn Ezra could have meant that this was a later addition to the Torah. When the person wouldn’t stop asking his questions, the Rabbi in question stopped his shiur and was so angry at his perceived disrespect to Ibn Ezra that he wouldn’t continue the shiur until the questioner left the room.

Mission Statement

November 7th, 2005 by Yaakov Ellis

The purpose of this blog is to provide a constant stream of bite-size Divrei Torah relating to the Torah portion of the week.

Unlike many other parsha-related sites on the Internet, the typical article on Parsha Blog will not be very long, will not draw from half a dozen sources and will not be overly complex (at first glance, that is).

Why not do it this way? Aren’t long articles featuring multi-faceted approaches to complex themes very interesting? Yes, of course they are. If you want to read them, they are published weekly on many sites spanning the Internet (a resources page will soon be posted for those interested in pursuing this path of Torah study). However, in today’s world, many people do not have time every day to sit down in a quiet place free of interruptions, and read a complex and introspective piece of Torah. If you can do this, Kol haKavod (non-literal translation: more power to you)!. For those who cannot do this every day, how can one be sure to learn a bit of Torah every day relating to the portion of the week?

To answer this question, I offer Parsha Blog. The average Dvar Torah posted on Parsha Blog will be 2-3 paragraphs long, will be based on a small number of pesukim from the coming week’s Torah reading and will draw on the interpretations of one or two commentators. Most posts will raise a question about the topic at hand. Sometimes these questions will be answered, sometimes they will not. Almost all will be thought provoking (and hopefully comment provoking as well). And with God’s help, all of the words of Torah written here will in some way help the readers and their extended communities to further their relationships with הקדוש ברוך הוא and their commitments to תורה.