From The Hashkafah Files

Long Biblical Lives

by R. Gil Student The biblical lists of generations include descriptions of very long lives. For example, Adam lived 930 years (Gen. 5:5), Noach 950 (9:29), and the longest — Mesushelach 969 (5:27). How do we relate to these descriptions of longevity, well beyond anything we can expect of human beings? Two approaches emerge from Medieval Jewish commentary. I. Theories ...

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Koheles and Political Struggle

by R. Gil Student Who wrote Koheles, the biblical book of Ecclesiastes? The traditional answer to the question of Koheles’ authorship is Shlomo HaMelech, King Solomon, who according to tradition wrote Shir HaShirim, Koheles and Mishlei (Koheles Rabbah 1:1), which were copied and finalized by Chizkiyahu and his counterparts (Bava Basra 15a). My question is not which person wrote Koheles, ...

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Lack of a Rabbi in the Modern Era

by R. Gil Student I. Non-Believing Jews The modern era presents unique challenges to traditional religion. Most changes are matters of a phenomenon’s extent, quantity rather than quality. However, a greatly expanded phenomenon may require a different response. The example we will discuss here is the growth of secularism in the community. While atheists and religious deniers always existed, in ...

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