Author Archives: raphaelmagarik

Question Authority: Who Rewrote the Bible?

Last year, I chanted the story of Judah and Tamar; my partner Sarah chanted the preceding chapter. The Tamar story interrupts the larger Joseph narrative, splitting the brothers’ betrayal from Joseph’s experience in Egypt. Though the narratives are independent – … Continue reading

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Modernity is the Size of an Olive

Recently, Ben secularized the idea, paralleled in Mircea Eliade’s study of religion, of “homogeneous” history. For Eliade, profane time – that is, time without divine intervention to organize it – is a vast, homogeneous expanse, the meaningless tohu vavohu (unformed … Continue reading

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How to Attack My Religion (and How Not To)

This post is being cross-posted at The Philosopher’s Stone, a fascinating blog which has gone from hosting Robert Paul Wolff’s full autobiography (!) to hosting an interesting discussion on the future of the left. In a recent post on religion, … Continue reading

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Bad Romance: Gaga and the Jews

Being religious, I am always happy to encounter blasphemy; it shows people still care. Katy Perry, apparently, does not agree: she’s been attacking Lady Gaga’s new music video, “Alejandro,” for combining “sex and spirituality.” This beef appears looks like the … Continue reading

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Halakha and Homosexuality: why language matters

On July 22, a group of Orthodox rabbis put forth a statement of principles on homosexuality; The statement contains an error of language, one which reveals the way in which traditional Jews now talk about homosexuality. Eleven of the statement’s … Continue reading

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Rebbe Nachman and the Tape Player

Suppose that I spent this Saturday afternoon copying music of the Breslover Chasidim from my dad’s old cassettes onto my computer. I say “suppose that” because by copying the tapes onto my computer, I might have broken the law; the … Continue reading

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Reading: it’s all in the family

The last post begins by considering whether Rousseau believes in a legitimate state—political authority—and finishes by questioning whether Dylan believes in legitimate interpretation—textual authority. By examining an old puzzle in Biblical textual criticism, I’ll connect these two problems, suggesting that … Continue reading

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The Doctrine of Double Entendre

Dylan ends his post with a meditation on the entanglement of  subjective and objective experience. It’s all very nice to write poetry in which your head is the head-wrap, but how do you make laws if what’s in your head … Continue reading

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Post-Structuralist Golems

Here is a d’var torah (a word of teaching) that I gave tonight at the Drisha tisch. The subject was golems. A couple of points: 1) Tisches are, traditionally (or semi-traditionally–Chasidut is only a couple hundred years old) Friday night … Continue reading

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Discipline and Punish lo hayah v’lo nivra ela mashal haya…

This month, I am learning at Drisha; in Talmud, we are covering the execution procedure for stoning. The post-modern yeshiva is a weird place; the dapei mekorot (source sheets) have included the non-canonical Book of Jubilees, the definitely non-canonical (for … Continue reading

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