Archive for 'Word Focus'

Emailing as a Moral Challenge

How did our ancestors regard the spoken word? What does the Torah say about the word and its power as well as its possibilities?

Biblical writers regarded the Divine Word as a cosmic force reverberating throughout the created order. According to Psalms 33:6, the Word of God animates the cosmos: בִּדְבַר יְהוָה שָׁמַיִם נַעֲשׂוּ “By the Word of the LORD the heavens were made.” To the Hebraic (as well as the Semitic) imagination, words are powerful—it is the stuff reality is made of. ...

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What is the origin of the term “kosher”? What does it take to make an animal “kosher”?


It may seem strange to the reader, but the term “kosher” only appears twice in the entire Bible (and in the only place where it appears, it does not pertain to food!! Originally, “kasher” meant “to be right and proper” (as in Esther 8:5), or “to prosper” (cf. Ecc. 11:6). As a noun, it connotes, “skill,” ...

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What does “rabbi” mean and when was the title first introduced?

What does “rabbi” mean, and when was the title “rabbi” first introduced?

This question is much more complex than most people realize. However, antecedents to the term רַב (rab) has some basis the Tanakh, where it denotes “great,” or chief (2 Kgs 18:17;  Isa 36:2). Elsewhere the expression rab māg means “chief of princes” (Jer 39:3, 13), while rab tabbāım, is “captain of the guard” (2 Kgs 25:8, etc.). By the time of the 1st century, the title of ...

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Feminine Imagery in the Bible

In a gender conscious society, people often ask if there are any specific references in the Tanakh and within Jewish tradition where God  is depicted in feminine terms. Without going into considerable detail, we will briefly one example:

In Isaiah 42:14, the prophet also depicts God’s biocentric passion for justice in feminine terms:

For a long time

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What is the meaning of the "goodly fruit" of Lev. 23:40?

Q. What is the meaning of the “goodly fruit” of Lev. 23:40? Does it really refer to the citron as the rabbis teach? I have friend who is a Horticulture at Southern Florida College, who doubts this association.

“The “etrog” of the Jews, used in the Feast of Tabernacles, is not mentioned in the Bible. It probably did not reach Palestine until after the time of Alexander the Great, and was not used by the Jews in fulfilling the prescriptions as ...

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