Tag Archives: Shabbat & holidays

Hanukah & Hasmoneans

This time of year, there’s a lot of snark about the Hanuka taking up an ideological cudgel against the fanatic Maccabees. Some of the discussion relies on the ambivalence tending towards hostility expressed in the Bavli towards this minor festival … Continue reading

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Easy Fast & Yom Kippur Year of Vigilance (2017)

I don’t think I was the only one in my social circles on whom the Days of  Awe fell flat this year. There was AB, and AB, and SB, and I’m sure many more who said pretty much the same … Continue reading

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Not So Awesome Days of Awe This Year

Rituals, we know from the study of religion, are supposed to encapsulate a perfect order completely unlike the messiness of lived, daily life. In the ritual space, everything is supposed to go right. This is what marks the disjunctive quality, … Continue reading

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Pagan Rabbis of the Mishnah (Jacob Neusner)

Against history and messianic end-times, Jewish philosophy might want to take note that at the conclusion of a discussion of the Order of Appointed Seasons (Seder Moed) of the Mishnah, Jacob Neusner describes these pagan rabbis. Their world picture is … Continue reading

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Drunken Messianic Burlesque (Passover)

The Passover Haggadah and its seder proceeds along a narrative arc from slavery to the liberation of messianic redemption. Up until dinner, the traditional seder is conducted as a memorial to the Temple cult in Jerusalem, the restoration of which … Continue reading

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Particles (חמץ)

There used to be a lot of talk in Religion Studies about ethos and nomos, ritual and myth. There’s Durkheim, Eliade, Geertz, J.Z. Smith, and Michael Fishbane. But I think ritual may “mean” nothing “more” than forced attention to the … Continue reading

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הפקר כעפרא דארעא (Nullification)

כל חמירא וחמיעא דאיכא ברשותי, דלא חזיתיה ודלא בערתיה, לבטיל ולהוי הפקר כעפרא דארעא “All chametz or leaven in my possession that I have seen and that I have not seen, that I have destroyed and that I have not … Continue reading

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