Oxford Jewish Thought

Lectures, essays, questions & articles

by Rabbi Eli Brackman

Parsha and Manuscript: Nitzavim and Vayelech - ‘G-d in Exile’

MS. Canonici Or. 35 (Nitzavim).pngIn the Torah portion of Nitzavim it states:[1]


And it will be, when all these things come upon you the blessing and the curse which I have set before you that you will consider in your heart, among all the nations where the Lord your G-d has banished you, and you will return to the Lord, your G-d, with all your heart and with all your soul, and you will listen to His voice according to all that I am commanding you this day you and your children, then, the Lord, your G-d, will bring back your exiles, and He will have mercy upon you. He will once again gather you from all the nations, where the Lord, your G-d, had dispersed you.


The idea that ‘G-d will bring back your exiles’ is expressed in a way that gives rise… Read More »

Parsha and Manuscript: Ki Tavo – Treasured and holiness: promise or commandment?

MS. Canon. Or. 81, fol. 179 (1396) Ki Tavo.pngIn the Torah portion of Ki Tavo, Moses addresses the Jewish people regarding the commandment of the bringing of the first fruits (bikkurim) to Jerusalem and the related law of the second tithe (ma’aser sheni) that also must be consumed only in Jerusalem. Having fulfilled this commandment and cleared the house out from all related produce, on the eve of Passover of the fourth year of the sabbatical cycle,[1] a declaration is made that one has offered all the necessary tithes, including the priestly offerings (terumah), the first Levite tithe (ma’aser rishon), the second tithe for the poor, as well as the first fruits, and requests G-d for His reciprocal blessings. These laws are then followed by a stirring closing of Moses’… Read More »

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