Oxford Jewish Thought

Lectures, essays, questions & articles

by Rabbi Eli Brackman

The Fundamentalist Penguin

Men have aggression to spare; they keep it in stock so as to have it ready when it is needed and even, or especially, when it is unneeded and unwanted. 

Harvey Mansfield 

Penguin is an eccentric fellow; blessed with wings, he has many abilities except that of flight. He approaches life lethargically, never to ‘slip the surly bonds of earth’ and survey the expanse of the heavens above. He will never experience a bird’s-eye view of the universe and its evolution and transformation. A penguin will swim to diverse environs, but he cannot fathom the true scope of the ocean. He goes through life, living it, without feeling its depth. 

Some people are like penguin. They belong… Read More »

Maimonides' View on the Shape of the Branches of the Menorah according to Oxford's rare Manuscript

Bodleian.jpgOxford’s Bodleian library is known for its rare collection of Hebrew manuscripts including some of the most important manuscripts of the great Jewish legalist and philosopher Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, known as Maimonides (1138-1204). One such manuscript is Maimonides’ unique own handwritten work in Judeo Arabic of his 'Commentary to the Mishnah' (MSS 1655) or in Hebrew 'Pirush Hamishnayot' on the 3rd century Jewish legal work of the 'Mishnah'.


This rare manuscript was brought to Oxford by the collector of Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts in the East, Professor Edward Pococke, who was born and passed away in Oxford (1604-1691). Prof. Pocock was appointed to the professorship of Hebrew at Oxford in 1647 and had … Read More »

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