Welcome to the Nishma Insight Discussion Forum blog.

The NISHMA INSIGHT is our popular dvar Torah, distributed almost every week by e-mail, that touches upon an important concept in the Parsha, theme in a holiday or event in contemporary society.

Often, readers respond, via e-mail, with comments that initiate a further dialogue. Through this Discussion Forum, we now wish to open this dialogue to others. If you have a comment on the INSIGHT, we invite you place to your comments here; then we invite everyone to join the discussion.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Insight 5773-19: Why Were You Bothering Us?

For Beshalach
Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Study Question

1) The theory expressed in this Insight would seem to challenge the Chassidic view of the rebbe. This is something you may wish to investigate.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Insight 5773-18: The Pattern of the Makkot

For Bo
Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Study Question

1) One question is the one mentioned in the footnote: why would hatra'ah apply here in the case of Divine punishment? A warning ensures the court that the sinner knew that his/her activity was against the Torah law, i.e. a sin. God would know this in any event, so why the warning in this case? A possibility is that a warning also informs the individual that the intended behaviour is a sin -- thus the warning before sin actually is intended also to possibly prevent the sin. Was that the case here? Or could we say, in this case, it was simply intended to inform Pharaoh of the law, one of which he may not have known?

2) We postulated a possible sin for Pharaoh in rejecting "specific aspects of the knowledge of God." Can there be a sin in not knowing something?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Insight 5773-17: The Challenge of Biblical History

For Va'era
Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Study Question

1) The resultant basic question is thus: how do we then fully understand bechira? The fact is that it does not just represent the possibility of choice but the possibility of choice between good and evil. The further problem with a definition of bechira that is predicated on the possibility of alternative explanations of events would be the need to define one of the choices as evil. If one explains such an event as magic, for example, rather than the action of God -- given a world in which magic exists -- why would such a choice necessarily be an evil one? Has would someone thereby know that they are choosing evil? Simply arguing that bechira is possible because of alternative explanations actually continues the complication for there is still the need to understand not only what is evil but that the one making this choice knows it to be evil.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Insight 5773-16: Moshe and Yitro

For Shemot
Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Study Question

1) Regarding the footnote in which I refer to the other views that have Moshe spending the vast majority of his time outside of Egypt as king of Kush, why do you think those of chazal who adopted this view were motivated to do so? Are there any indications in the verses that there is much more to all this than what is written?