The Songs of the Prophetesses and Risky Circumcisions

I currently deliver a weekly lecture (usually two versions thereof) on topics related to the coming week’s Torah reading, and write a short weekly column on halachic topics related to the same (the latter is usually a condensed, written version of the former). I intend to begin posting these regularly here. For פסח, my weekly […]

The Song of the Warrior-Judge

From this week’s parshah: וַתִּקַּח מִרְיָם הַנְּבִיאָה אֲחוֹת אַהֲרֹן, אֶת-הַתֹּף–בְּיָדָהּ; וַתֵּצֶאןָ כָל-הַנָּשִׁים אַחֲרֶיהָ, בְּתֻפִּים וּבִמְחֹלֹת. וַתַּעַן לָהֶם, מִרְיָם: שִׁירוּ לַיקוָק כִּי-גָאֹה גָּאָה, סוּס וְרֹכְבוֹ רָמָה בַיָּם.1 From the haftarah: וַתָּשַׁר דְּבוֹרָה, וּבָרָק בֶּן-אֲבִינֹעַם, בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, לֵאמֹר.2 How could Devorah have sung together with Barak, in apparent contravention of the principle of קול באשה ערוה? Rav […]

Ideological Certainty and Its Discontents: In Praise Of Epistemic Humility

In response to a question about the propriety of protesting the singing of שיר המעלות to “the [well-]known tune of the [Israeli] National Anthem”, Rav Avraham Weinfeld responds that while the practice is indeed deplorable, as the Zionists are, at least in certain respects, worse than the Reformers, as the latter at least nominally retain […]