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About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link of New Jersey, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

One comment

  1. I don’t think the author of the first piece intended these lines to stand out, but boy they did to me:

    “Furthermore, the word “Jewish” does not exist in the Old Testament. “Jewish” as an adjective attached to texts and people does not emerge until thousands of years later.”

    Well, yes, it doesn’t appear because it’s an English word. “Yehudi” certainly appears, as do all sorts of earlier adjectives (Ivri, Yisrael).

    “but most Jews and Christians do not read or study it in Hebrew. Most experience it in their native language. ”

    Considering that for about half the world’s Jews, Hebrew is their native language, and that Orthodox Jews worldwide study the Bible in Hebrew, and that sadly very few others Jews study it at all…yes, most Jews study it in Hebrew.

    “Yet, the Old Testament began as an oral tradition. Its words were chanted in the synagogue. They were memorized by students. It was only written down after about 1,000 years of oral transmission.”

    OK, we get it, you don’t believe it’s divine. But even the most hard-core documentary hypothesist would not claim this. At the very least, it was written in some form very, very early on. Certainly by the time “synagogues” existed as an institution and the Bible was being “chanted” it was written pretty much in the form we have it. In fact, memorization of the Bible is forbidden by Jewish law.

    “I did not know the word Tanach until I entered rabbinical school.”

    Whoa. Whooooaaaaa. (By the way, it’s on the cover of the JPS translation.)

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