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 […]

The “Reckless Partier” Defense

We have previously discussed the “reckless partier” defense – a halachic exemption from liability for torts perpetrated in the course of customarily boisterous celebration (e.g., on Purim, or at a wedding). The primary early source for this is a ruling of Tosafos (based on Rashi’s interpretation of a Mishnah), echoed throughout the French-German halachic tradition: […]

Panentheism

We recently discussed several versions of an aphorism declaring that God can be found everywhere. While this is merely a poetic assertion that the honest and earnest seeker will be able to see God wherever he looks, our tradition also contains various rather more fraught theological assertions, bordering on the panentheistic, that God actually is […]