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.

(If you are not receiving the NISHMA INSIGHT, we invite you join our mailing/e-mail list through completing our sign-up form available at our website.)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Insight 74-16: Equality and Inequality

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

Study Question

1) We brought up this issue already in the Insight but, as mentioned there, it was not something we could go into at the time. This is the question of whether the Torah challenge against slavery is specifically against Jews being enslaved or is there a general disgust within the Torah perspective toward slavery of all? This, obviously, touches upon the very subject of the relationship between the Jewish People and humanity in general. There is much room for discussion on this topic. The fact that there is a difference between the Torah rules regarding a Jewish slave and those regarding a non-Jewish slave does not, though, inherently point to a necessary distinction in the view of the entire system. This distinction may be for a variety of reasons. It should still be strongly noted that the Torah rules regarding a non-Jewish were still much, much more progressive than the rules in general regarding slavery in that world.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Insight 5774-14: The Human Element

For Vayechi
Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Study Question

1) If this was the first case of illness, we must really wonder about how everyone responded to it. How did they know what was going to be, specifically that Yaakov was going to die? This question is especially striking in regard to the Anaf Yosef, who presents a view similar to Torah Temima but who states also that this was not the first case of illness but rather the first case of illness leading to death. How would anyone know this until the death of Yaakov -- so why the concern over the illness potentially leading to death? Trying to fit the midrashic explanation into what happened raises many questions.

Friday, December 6, 2013