Our Complete Torah vs. Their Idle Chatter – Influences Of Secular Law and Politics On the Halachah

I gave a lecture with this title earlier today; audio and source sheets, in various file formats, are available at the Internet Archive. Many of the sources that I discuss have been previously discussed on the blog (here, here, here and here) but there is also novel material. Of particular interest are a couple of […]

Facing the Falsehoods Of History

I recently encountered a cryptic comment of Rav Ya’akov Emden, in the context of the Tosaphist discussion of the custom to date Gittin to the Creation, in apparent defiance of the Mishnaic / Talmud requirement to date from the reign of the local sovereign: מתני’ כתב לשום מלכות שאינה הוגנת לשום מלכות מדי לשום מלכות […]

Persians and Their Imperium: At World's End

For C.S., who recently remarked on the blog’s literary eclecticism. Warning – spoiler alert! This post reveals critical plot points of Isaac Asimov’s classic science-fiction masterpiece, The Foundation Trilogy. The riddle: Seldon said, “… It is enough for the moment that you know that a scientific refuge will be established on Terminus. And another will […]