Parashat Tzav: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein This time—our last before Pesah—we’ll see a couple of times where what seems nonliteral might actually be literal. Maybe He’s Being Literal with the Sprinkling of the Blood 6;19 refers to hakohen ha-mehatei otah, meaning the kohen who offers the hatat sacrifice, the sacrifice brought (usually) for an unwitting violation of a sin punishable by karet ...

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Parashat Vayikra: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein Two points to begin: First, with the new sefer of the Torah, I had not yet received my pre-ordered ArtScroll Onkelos, and tried to identify unusual comments of Onkeloson my own. It was hard! I was relieved when the book came in time to write this week’s piece, and renewed in my gratitude to ArtScroll for ...

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Unknown Unknowns and the Coronavirus

by R. Gidon Rothstein Unknown Unknowns: A Jewish Version of Confronting Coronavirus Creatively Rambam opens the Laws of Fasts with a passage many people today find uncomfortable for its forthright certainty hard times hit communities (individuals is a more complex story, depending on our understanding of divine providence) because of sins they commit. Let’s leave his idea for next time, when I ...

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Vayakhel-Pekudei: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein I write these words as much of the world is shutting down in the face of the זעם of the novel coronavirus affecting the world. I hope and pray we soon merit a reduction of new cases, a refuah shelemah for those affected, and insight into how we can change our ways to merit the removal ...

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Ki Tissa: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein The sin of the Golden Calf takes up much of the air in the parasha. I am particularly interested in the reaction, what Hashem originally warns about doing, what Mosheh requests, and what we learn about Hashem in the Thirteen Attributes. Hashem Leaves and Descends Two verses in our parasha speak of Hashem moving; we already ...

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The Jewish People as the Engine of the World

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akeydat Yitzhak, Sha’ar Thirty-One Bringing Ya’akov to Egypt R. Arama starts the sha’ar with Midrash Shokher Tov’s quote of R. Yehuda, Ya’akov should have been brought down to Egypt in chains (for unclarified reasons), the incident with Yosef was a sort of favor by Hashem, a way to get him there more gently [the Midrash bothers ...

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Tetzaveh: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein I find Teruma and Tetzave among the hardest parashiyot, because they seem mostly technical, how the Mishkan and its furnishings looked, whose full understanding we will not achieve until we again have a Bet Ha-Mikdash. For Onkelos, it leaves me unsure whether he is being nonliteral or viewed the Mishkan other than we assume the words ...

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