Genesis

Genocide

Dear Rabbi and Susan, In the process of working through my five Fs, I’ve been reading the Bible with a group of friends. One of the things I find disturbing is the genocide in the Torah. Can you help me with the concept of conquering a people and killing every man, woman, and child? Fred...

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What Does the Hebrew Mean?

I want to know more about your understanding of the term “Ezer kenegdo” (Genesis 2:18) translated as helpmate in English. What does it actually mean? Jonathan Dear Jonathan, We are delighted that you recognize that any translation of a word or words in the Bible into another language is going to miss out on much...

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Jewelry is Never Just Jewelry

Question of the week: Dear Rabbi Daniel and Susan, In your program, Ancient Jewish Wisdom, “Our Culture,” how did Rebekah know that the jewelry represented the ten commandments when they had not been given yet? Thank you, Leah Hi Leah, Thanks for giving us a chance to expand on our words. For those who haven’t...

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Vegetarianism

My neighbor was telling me about a recent Bible study where he became aware that originally God had us as vegetarians and the animals were no threat and that after the flood God told Noah that was no more & we could now eat meat. We were wondering why the change. Our thought was that...

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In Front of the Eight Ball

“Rabbi Lapin, please stop talking and writing about money; all you’re doing is perpetuating anti-Semitic stereotypes!”  This was the phone call I received a while ago from the head of one of the Jewish organizations concerned with anti-Semitism.  Knowing it was futile, I still recommended that he worry more about Moslems than about me. “Rabbi...

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What’s in a Name?

In an act of unprecedented ostentatiousness, Gerald Guterman chartered the famous ocean liner, the QE2, along with its one thousand crew members to celebrate his son’s bar-mitzvah in 1986. Our son’s bar-mitzvah was solemnized in a small synagogue built on the Los Angeles ocean front in the 1940s.  Guterman was trying to add meaning to...

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Who’s the “us” in “Let us make man”?

Question: In Genesis God declares, “Let Us make man in Our Own Image.” Who is the Us? ∼ Ted M., MD Answer: Dear Ted, The phrase, “Let us make man…” is the subject of volumes of ancient Jewish wisdom. So troubling is it on the surface, that when Jewish sages were forced to translate the...

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No Work This Monday

Got a project that you’re proud of at work? Better hurry up and get it done because all work is soon coming to an end. Machines are taking over; it’s the end of work. Some greet the news with dismay, What will people do with all that leisure? Others eagerly anticipate a world of all...

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Do orthodox Jews interpret the Bible literally?

Question: My pastor tells me that, “The most orthodox view historically seems to be not a literal interpretation,” with the creation story in Genesis 1-3. Would you agree with this? Are there other passages in the Torah like this? Are their hints in the Hebrew that suggest something to be non-literal?  ∼ Jarred Answer: Dear...

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Rowdy Red or Benign Blue

It was on election night November 2nd, 1976, when President Ford was being challenged by Jimmy Carter that NBC television showed us our first blue/red electoral map. The blue was Republican and showed the 27 states won by Ford, while red was Democrat. It was only in the 2000 Bush-Gore election that the colors were...

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