Oxford Jewish Thought

Lectures, essays, questions & articles

by Rabbi Eli Brackman

Discovering G-d in the Opening of the Oxford Huntington Manuscript of Maimonides

Rambam.jpgThe Talmud states that in the merit of the belief of the Israelites they were taken out of Egypt. At the heart of Judaism, as with all religions, it is assumed that there is the importance of belief in G-d. What is the meaning to this belief in Judaism? Is there actually an obligation to believe in G-d?


The great medieval legalist Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, known as Maimonides (1135-1204), writes in the opening to his major work on the commandments Sefer Hamitzvos: “The first of the positive commandments is the mitzvah (commandment) to know that there is a God, as [Exodus 20:2] states: "I am G-d, your Lord."


Similarly in the opening to his detailed work of Jewish law Mishneh Torah (book of Ma’ada, ch. … Read More »

Angyalfi family of Budapest

The history of my grandfather's family of Budapest, the Angyalfi family, provides a window into the history of Jewish life in Budapest at the beginning of the 20th century. This essay will aim to give a context to this Jewish family and insight into the kind of life they would have maintained in pre war Hungary.


A reference to the Angyalfi family can be found in an autobiography of Ervin Gyorgy (George) Raphael Patai, ‘Apprentice in Budapest: Memories of a world that is no more’ (Lexington Books 2000). Upon reading the autobiography one learns that he was a classmate and high school friend of Imre Miklos (Moshe) Angyalfi, my grandfather, also born around 1910, to Carlos (Yitzchok Zev) Angyalfi. The Angyalfi family lived… Read More »

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.