Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Mabul Revisited: New Hypothesis!

So simple, really. And with meaningful archaeological evidence. Just struck me today while preparing for tomorrow's class. This is the handout I put together.

This hypothesis may not be so new, see page 186 in this work from 1817(!):

See also, from
 ספר שבע חכמות שבתלמוד ומדרש
 Jechiel Zebi Hirschensohn 
1883 - 149 pages

Perhaps Nod=Indus!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Purpose of Life According to both Chassidim and Misnagdim, with a note on Teshuvah and and an unrelated amazing Tashbetz

In a chaburah today, someone mentioned that Teshuvah is a Reboot. This got me thinking about the three keys to reboot a Windows machine. This evening I found this.

 But by us, the order is:

First, get control over yourself. Then סור מרע, delete your bad habits. Then עשה טוב, alter your ways.

So what is the purpose of life towards which you should direct your Reboot? Both the Gr"a and the Besh"t agree!!!

שני נביאים מתנבאים בסגנון אחד!


משלי ד יג


כתר שם טוב ח"א סי' כ"ד

Finally, totally unrelated, but something that, like the aforementioned Ba'al Shem Tov, I found on Rosh HaShanah this year, why male Jews call each other Reb Ploni, Reb Almoni, from the Tashbetz's commentary on Avos. Amazing!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Forshay - West Wesley Hills Eruv

Update: I was in contact with one of the Forshay Rabbonim who said that by Sukkos, at the latest, the problem will be resolved.


I was told over Shabbos that this section of the Rockland Eruv now includes karpeifos that are impassable. For some reason, this development is not being publicized. Ask your Local Orthodox Rabbi if you should continue to use this section of the Rockland Eruv.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The non-territoriality of an eruv: ritual bearings in Jewish urban life

Image result for journal of architecture and urbanism

The non-territoriality of an eruv: ritual bearings in Jewish urban life 

The dropbox  link below will bring you to the Accepted Manuscript of my article published by Taylor & Francis in the Journal of Architecture and Urbanism, available online at: 

(2017). The non-territoriality of an eruv: ritual bearings in Jewish urban life. Journal of Architecture and Urbanism: Vol. 41, No. 3, pp. 199-209. doi: 10.3846/20297955.2017.1355279

This paper considers the definition and meaning of an eruv as “territoriality without sovereignty” in Jewish tradition (Fonrobert 2005). It begins by exploring the origin and development of the term eruv itself, as well as its applications in different urban settings. It distinguishes between, on the one hand, the “enclosure” of the eruv that is made up of various natural and artificial structures that define its perimeter and, on the other hand, the “ritual community” created by the symbolic collection of bread that is known as eruvei chatzeirot. It suggests that much of the controversy, including legal issues of separation of church and state, as well as emotional issues such as the charge of “ghetto-ization”, surrounding urban eruvin (plural of eruv) may be connected to the identification of the area demarcated by an eruv as a “territoriality”. It argues that the enclosure of an eruv is not in itself religious in nature but rather makes up a completely arbitrary and generic “space”, and that it is only through and on account of the eruvei chatzeirot that this space becomes meaningful as a purely symbolic “place” one day a week (on the Sabbath). In the course of this analysis, it considers the one “weekday” on which an eruv may be significant – the Jewish holiday of Purim – and how on that day it may be a tool by which the area defined as part of a given city may be extended.

I get 50 free eprints to distribute. First come, first served: