Category Archives: Judaism

SZMUL ZYGIELBOJM
(1895-1943)

Letter to the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland

  Szmul Zygielbojm was born in a village in what is now Poland, then part of the Russian empire. At the age of 10, he left school and began working in a factory. As a young man, he became involved … Continue reading

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EPHRAIM ZALMAN MARGOLIOTH
(1762-1828)

from Bet Efrayim

  Ephraim Zalman Margolioth, a Galician rabbi, was the author of many commentaries esteemed as authoritative within the Jewish tradition. He was born in Brody, Poland, Dec. 19, 1762, and began to distinguish himself as a Talmudic scholar at a … Continue reading

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BARUCH SPINOZA
(1632-1677)

from Ethics

  Baruch Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese-Jewish descent, from a family that settled in Amsterdam to avoid religious persecution in Portugal. When Spinoza was six, his mother died; by the time he was in his early 20s, a … Continue reading

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SOLOMON BEN JEHIEL LURIA
(1510-1573)

Yam shel Shelomoh On Bava Kamma 8:59

  Solomon ben Jehiel Luria was a rabbi and author of several analytical discourses on the Talmud [q.v.] and its early commentaries. He was born in Brest-Litovsk, Lithuania, and was educated as a child by his grandfather, Rabbi Isaac Klauberia, … Continue reading

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TOSAFOT
(12-14th centuries)

On Avodah Zarah 18a
On the Torah: Concerning Genesis    Rabbah (Genesis 9:5)

  Tosafot, meaning “additions,” refers to a body of explanatory and critical remarks made by a group of Talmudic scholars known as the tosafists, who wrote in France and Germany from the late 11th–12th through the 14th centuries, during the … Continue reading

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YA’QUB AL-QIRQISANI
(c. 890-c. 960)

from The Book of Lighthouses and Watchtowers

  Ya’qub al-Qirqisani was a biblical scholar and a recorder of religious and secular law, writing during a period in which Jewish life had been heavily influenced by the rise of Islam and the centralization of Muslim rule in the … Continue reading

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GENESIS RABBAH
(compiled 3rd-5th century)

Commentary on Genesis 9:5

  Because of its age and significance, the expository commentary on the book of Genesis [q.v., under Hebrew Bible] Bereshit Rabbah, commonly known in English as Genesis Rabbah, is considered to be of primary position in the Midrash, a collection … Continue reading

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JOSEPHUS
(37-c. 100)

from The Jewish War
   The Defeat at Jotapata
   The Fall of Masada

  Originally born Joseph ben Matthias in Jerusalem, Titus Flavius Josephus was a Jewish military commander and then historian. He was of priestly and royal descent, educated in both Hebrew and Greek literature. At age 16, he went into the … Continue reading

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Filed under Ancient History, Cowardice, Courage, Bravery, Fear, Josephus, Judaism, Martyrdom, Mass Suicide, Middle East, Military Defeat, Success, Strategy, Selections

THE HEBREW BIBLE AND APOCRYPHA
(c. 12th-1st centuries B.C.)

Genesis: The Prohibition of Bloodshed
Exodus: The Ten Commandments
Judges: Samson and the Philistines
I Samuel-II Samuel: Saul and his    Armor-Bearer
Job: The Sufferings of Job
Daniel: Shadrach, Meschach, Abednego    and the Fiery Furnace
II Maccabees: The Suicide of Razis

  The collection of texts originating among the Hebrews of the first millennium B.C., the Hebrew Bible, generally referred to as the Tanakh by Jews and as the Old Testament by Christians, is a compilation recognized as scriptural in both … Continue reading

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