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Insights

Exploring Maimonidean Thought

Divine Knowledge and Human Choice
The Question that Everyone Asks
If G-d "already" knows what I will do tomorrow, is not my freedom to choose nothing more than an illusion?
The History of Monotheism
The respective roles of faith and intellect in Abraham’s discovery of the truth of the one G-d.
Prayer: Obligation or Inspiration
It is dawn in Jerusalem. The light is clear. A bent woman lays her head upon the stones; the men are draped in a sea of undulating black and white prayer shawls. The morning service has begun.
Anatomy of a Dwelling
The Mishkan as a prototype of time, space and man
13 chapters are filled with the details of the Sanctuary's construction. In contrast, the Torah devotes one chapter to its account of the creation...
Is My Body Mine?
My body is "me," so why should anyone else care? Why should the Torah care? Why should the Torah give rules for how I treat my own body?
The Case of the Floating Skull
Ethics 2:6
Moses, Pharaoh, Hillel, Maimonides and the Lubavitcher Rebbe on cosmic justice.
For Real
Why is the belief in Moshiach and the Redemption so central to Judaism? What makes it one of the "thirteen principles" of the Jewish faith upon which its entire edifice rests?
The Mark of Truth
A Compendium on Circumcision
G-d wants us to remove the foreskin ourselves. To demonstrate that as we complete the physical appearance of our bodies, so can we perfect the contours of our souls.…
Eight Degrees of Giving
Preserving the dignity of the receiver is a cornerstone of mitzvah of charity: Maimonides lists eight levels of giving, correlating to the degree to which the giver is sensitive to the needs and feelings of the recipient
Perception and Power
What was the purpose of the plagues?
A Psychology of Motivation
Doing good without believing in reward is the flip side of doing good only for reward. In the one case, good is constrained to the metaphysical; in the other, it is limited to a crass physical expression . . .
The Resurrection of the Dead
If the body is but a temporary and deficient container for the soul, why recompose and revive it?
Ketoret
The most sacred -- and mysterious -- ritual in the Holy Temple was the burning of “Ketoret,” a specially prepared "incense." What is the significance of the Ketoret?
Eating on the Job
The Rebbe examines our relationship with G-d from an interesting angle -- the legal angle. Using Torah law as our criterion, what would be G-d's obligations toward us?
Creating Civilization
What is the purpose of the commandments? One explanation in the teachings of the Sages is: to refine people. The Commandments of the Torah are intended to have a civilizing effect on the Jewish people.
Alienation and Faith
We detect two tendencies of thought on the place of alienation and loneliness in the Jewish analysis of the emotions. To state this contrast is not to formulate an opposition; simply to open another gate...
In the Land of Because
Try to imagine life without the word “because.”
Extorted Faith
Do we ever really want to go against G-d's will? What is the point of despair? What stops a person from being sensitive to G-d?
Morality Without G‑d
Is it possible to have a moral society while leaving G‑d out of the equation?
Cowards of the World, Unite!
The fearless few who throw caution to the wind and heedlessly plunge into every offered challenge are indeed strange exceptions to our race. So where do all our heroes come from?
Sustained Paradox
It is irrational to believe that an elephant can fit itself through the eye of a needle. But what about the One who brought elephant, needle, size, space and logic itself into existence?
Do You Resent Being Told What To Do?
Our relationship with G-d is completely scripted. The tasks demanded by this relationship seemingly don't leave much room for improvisation, for impromptu and original outbursts of care and love.
The Eyes of a Child
We remember people, events, scenes and feelings from our childhood. But do we remember the self we were? The manner in which we perceived reality?
The Hovering Spirit
"And the earth was chaotic and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of G-d hovered upon the face of the waters." A spooky verse, a Talmudic law, and an empowering Midrash.
Trapped? Not Trapped!
Is it fair to punish Pharaoh, if his refusal to recognize G‑d is forced upon him -- by G‑d Himself? Doesn't G‑d grant free will?
The Levites
Ethics 2:2
Heaven or earth? The kollel or the kibbutz? We Jews have been debating the issue for as long as we have been a people
The most renowned of the Jewish medieval scholars, Maimonides indelibly changed the face of Judaism. Read about his scholarship and achievements, and the modern-day global campaign to incorporate his teachings into every Jew’s daily study schedule.
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