The Law of War

My weekly lectures for parashas Shelah (including handouts), on the topic of halachic perspectives on the law of war, are available at the Internet Archive. I subsequently recorded a lecture on the halachic justifiability of Shimon and Levi’s massacre of Shechem – a (temporally) shorter, and perhaps tighter and more rigorous, treatment of some of […]

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 […]

Risking One’s Life For Fun and Profit

There is a well known medrash that Esav murdered Nimrod out of lust for the latter’s wonderful Hunter’s Garment: ר’ מאיר אומר עשו ראה את הכתנת על נמרוד שהיו מצויירין עליה כל החיות והעופות שבעולם ונראין כאלו הן חיין וכשהיו בשדה היו באין אצלו וניצודין מאליהן וחמדה אותה בלבו והרגו ולקחה ממנו וכשלבש אותה נעשה […]