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”