Spanish Source Criticism

The issue of the complete absence of any reference to God in the Megillah is well known, but the truth is that the question is really much deeper: the Megillah seems to be a purely secular document, with virtually no mention of religion at all! The great fifteenth century commentator Rav Yitzhak Arama gives an …

Buckbeak in the Dock

For C.S., who provided me with the volume from which our opening case study is drawn. Buckbeak and His Defense Team In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the obnoxious and supercilious Draco Malfoy foolishly and boorishly insults Buckbeak the hippogriff, and instantly receives his richly deserved comeuppance: Trotting toward them were a dozen …

Yes (Presumptively)

The Torah states: יג כִּי-יִקַּח אִישׁ, אִשָּׁה; וּבָא אֵלֶיהָ, וּשְׂנֵאָהּ. יד וְשָׂם לָהּ עֲלִילֹת דְּבָרִים, וְהוֹצִא עָלֶיהָ שֵׁם רָע; וְאָמַר, אֶת-הָאִשָּׁה הַזֹּאת לָקַחְתִּי, וָאֶקְרַב אֵלֶיהָ, וְלֹא-מָצָאתִי לָהּ בְּתוּלִים. טו וְלָקַח אֲבִי הַנַּעֲרָ, וְאִמָּהּ; וְהוֹצִיאוּ אֶת-בְּתוּלֵי הַנַּעֲרָ, אֶל-זִקְנֵי הָעִיר–הַשָּׁעְרָה. טז וְאָמַר אֲבִי הַנַּעֲרָ, אֶל-הַזְּקֵנִים: אֶת-בִּתִּי, נָתַתִּי לָאִישׁ הַזֶּה לְאִשָּׁה–וַיִּשְׂנָאֶהָ. יז וְהִנֵּה-הוּא שָׂם עֲלִילֹת דְּבָרִים לֵאמֹר, לֹא-מָצָאתִי …