Martyrdom in Judaism: Part 2

ZS wrote this two-part overview of Jewish martyrdom in 2018. We post it now with consideration of those who joined the ranks of kedoshim on October 7, 2023. Click here to read Part 1. Rewards in Heaven Jewish traditions hold that martyrs gain access to haolam haba. In the Maccabean martyr story of the seven brothers and their mother, rather than eating swine’s flesh, the family was killed one by one. With his last breath, the second brother exclaimed to his persecutor, “You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us … Continue reading “Martyrdom in Judaism: Part 2”

Jewish Martyrdom: Part 1

Eleazar Avaran dies while killing Seleucid war elephant.

ZS wrote this two-part overview of Jewish martyrdom in 2018. We post it now with consideration of those who joined the ranks of kedoshim on October 7, 2023. The concept of martyrdom within Judaism wrestles with several issues. Martyrdom carries different functions within Judaism, often changing with historical context. Judaism tries to set clear determinations for situations in which a martyr’s death is preferred, although this tends to be a difficult task with gray areas. A martyr receives rewards in haolam haba (“the world to come,” or the afterlife). Unlike Christian martyrdom, Jewish halakhah arguably focuses more on the action … Continue reading “Jewish Martyrdom: Part 1”

Parashat Ki Tetzei

This is adapted from a drash Z. S. read last year at Devar Emet Messianic Congregation. A drash is a brief takeaway from the weekly cycle of texts. This Week’s Readings: Torah: Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1-10 Brit Chadashah: Revelation 21:1-4 I recently spoke with a friend in Israel about some issues surrounding the aliyah process, and how terrible Israeli bureaucracy can get. My friend told me, “I think bureaucracy is a curse from G-d. It’s only because of our sins of lying and forging that we need bureaucracy.” I suppose my friend is right. I wouldn’t have to worry about authenticating documents … Continue reading “Parashat Ki Tetzei”

Christian Midrash: Theology Building

Given my staple here as a writer who submits to and defends the authority of the Catholic Church, I am taking a bit of a step back in these four articles where I will explore some random theological ideas. The articles are based on a paper I wrote in University in which I hope to take what good has come from Midrashic texts and blend it with Christianity. In my first article I explained what Midrash is and how Christian Midrash can exist. In my second I went into what I see to be a form of Christian Midrash, The … Continue reading “Christian Midrash: Theology Building”

Morning Walk Conference: Join Our Livestream!

Greetings! The Morning Walk Conference has been in the works for a year, and it will start tomorrow afternoon! For those unable to attend, we will stream our conference on YouTube. On both Saturday and Sunday, feel free to join in the livestream chat and type in your questions for the keynote speakers. All times are Central Standard Time. August 22nd Keynote Speeches on Prayer: https://youtu.be/VbEvxWKSRh4 August 23rd Q&A with Keynote Speakers: https://youtu.be/j96o2_sD1q8 God Bless, Morning Walk

Nazi Death Camps: Blurring the Lines Between Life and Death

We are publishing this article for Holocaust Remembrance Day. May their memories be for a blessing. Death camps represent, perhaps, the most important evidence for the planned extermination of the Jewish people. The death camp manufactured a single product: the speedy and efficient murder of world Jewry. Because of this, the Nazis blurred the lines between life and death. “Life” became an optimistic way to describe an animated dying process, while “death” was normalized into everyday expectation. Nazis sought to turn humans into animals, taking away all semblance of the dignity of human life. Meanwhile, the actual act of murder … Continue reading “Nazi Death Camps: Blurring the Lines Between Life and Death”

Divine Revelation in the Epistemology of Maimonides

In a previous article, I wrote about the centrality of the divine to Socrates’ epistemology. Here, I will discuss the source of prophecy in Maimonides’ epistemology. Over a millennium after Socrates, Maimonides echoes similar sentiments in his discourse on prophets in Book Two of The Guide for the Perplexed. He writes with the Aristotelian methodology prevalent in Egypt at his time to conclude that a man can be perfectly well-read and even have great character yet still not attain the status of prophet. Maimonides points out that knowledge and other forms of human wisdom, while necessary, are not sufficient to … Continue reading “Divine Revelation in the Epistemology of Maimonides”

Book Review: The Old Testament is Dying by Brent Strawn

“The world only exists out of the merit of the discourse found when small children study.” –Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh De’ah 245:7 “Welcome, OnScript superfans–and now we know that includes Dr. Brent Strawn,” the podcast host began. (OnScript is a podcast on the Bible that invites Biblical scholars to talk about their work.) At the end of the podcast, the host light-heartedly quizzed his guest, asking him to identify where a couple Biblical quotes came from. The guest identified the first correctly: “Then the king told his attendants, ‘tie him, hand and foot, and throw him outside into the darkness, where … Continue reading “Book Review: The Old Testament is Dying by Brent Strawn”

Halakhah and New York’s Recent Abortion Law

A month from its signing, I examine New York’s recent abortion law (the Reproductive Health Act, or RHA) under the lenses of Jewish law (halakhah). The RHA institutes two major changes: 1) it takes abortion out of laws regarding criminal activity, and 2) it allows abortion when “the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health” (page 2, lines 46-49). This means that doctors performing abortions cannot be charged for carrying out unlawful abortions. Moreover, the law narrows … Continue reading “Halakhah and New York’s Recent Abortion Law”