Children of G-d and Children of Men

S.B. spent several hours in shul with me on each day of ראש השנה (supplied with ample provisions and certain plastic trucks and related equipment). On the second day, I was honored with מפטיר and the הפטרה. S. accompanied me, and about halfway through my reading of the הפטרה, I felt a small, round object […]

Rationalizing Rosh Ha’Shanah

I had long been aware of Meiri’s delicious rationalization of the apparently superstitious underpinning of the simanim of Rosh Ha’Shanah: ‫ועל צד הגדיל התעוררות לזכור השם בכל רגע‬ ‫ולשוות יראתו על פנהם לבלתי יחטאו היתה הכונה‬ ‫לשום בשולחן, קרא, רוביא, כרתי, סלקא, תמרי‬, ‫על צד מה שאמרו במסכת כריתות ובמסכת הוריות‬ ‫השתא דאמרת סימנא מילתא […]

There Is That Is Destroyed Unjustly

For S.B., who is blameless and has not yet tasted sin. A provocative Talmudic agadah asserts that some deaths are unjust, citing as an example the bizarre tale of a minion of the Angel of Death whose misinterpretation of his instructions resulted in the termination of the wrong woman: רב יוסף כי מטי להאי קרא […]