Theft and Thaumaturgy III

We have previously discussed the two traditional interpretations of Rachel’s motive in stealing Lavan’s תרפים: The תרפים were magical entities, and Rachel stole them to forestall the possibility of their informing Lavan of her family’s flight. The תרפים were idols worshipped by Lavan, and Rachel stole them to wean him from idolatry. But what about […]

Theft and Thaumaturgy II

The previous post in this series discussed the idea that Rachel stole Lavan’s תרפים in order to prevent them from informing Lavan of her family’s flight; this post discusses the other main traditional explanation of her theft, that the תרפים were idols worshipped by Lavan, and Rachel stole them to wean him from idolatry. בראשית […]

Calves and Coins

My weekly halachah column: During the episode of the Golden Calf, Aharon seemingly goes along with the mob’s frenzy, to the point of proclaiming that “Tomorrow is a feast to ‘Hashem’” (32:5), apparently intending an idolatrous feast. The Ibn Ezra struggles greatly to reconcile Aharon’s conduct in this episode in general, and in this proclamation […]