Idiosyncratic Interconnections: Loshon haRa and New Orleans R&B (Episode 1)

Part of a new series, “Idiosyncratic Interconnections,” in which I unveil oddball connections betwixt two things that—most likely—only I, in my unusual mind, would notice… realizing a seemingly unrelated thing unexpectedly interconnects with another thing to explain, illuminate or give insight into the first thing. Each episode connects two things. Let me know if ya’ll … Continue reading “Idiosyncratic Interconnections: Loshon haRa and New Orleans R&B (Episode 1)”

Tananim Gedolim: “great reptiles,” the dinosaurs in the Torah

Originally written December the 5th, 2006, I’ve revised and re-named it to be part 2 of 4 of my D-cember: Dino-cember! series Tananim Gedolim, in English, “Great Reptiles” The Spiritual Can Illuminate The Scientific. The Scientific Can Illuminate The Spiritual. There has been (and will continue to be) debate about evolution and the age of … Continue reading “Tananim Gedolim: “great reptiles,” the dinosaurs in the Torah”

Leviticus and Disability: My Take

Patrick A from PunkTorah asked me to comment on parsha Emor, and here’s what I came up with. Everyone please turn to Leviticus 21, kthx. In this week’s parsha, Emor, Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses) tells us about some of the laws regulating kohanim (Temple priests). After the admonition for kohanim to not have contact with corpses, … Continue reading “Leviticus and Disability: My Take”

American Idol(atry)

Serving the good, not false idols, is incredibly important Idolatry. In Hebrew, avodah zora (strange service). The concept of idolatry is central in the Torah (Five books of Moses). Throughout the narrative, the Israelites often revert to idolatrous practices, the most famous of which is the sin of the Golden Calf. In that episode, Moses … Continue reading “American Idol(atry)”

Pharaoh’s Army Got Drownded! The Inevitability of Justice

“Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” I caught the wonderful old Negro spiritual “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” on this episode of The Steve Earle Show. His show is great because his diverse guests unearth little gems you’d never find elsewhere. “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep,” from the new record Get On Board! Underground Railroad & … Continue reading “Pharaoh’s Army Got Drownded! The Inevitability of Justice”

Any Valid Social Contract Requires Universal Health Care

Any Valid Social Contract Requires Universal Health Care That’s Not Socialism, It’s Judaism My last blog post, Vigorously Insisting On A More Perfect Union: Fighting Cuts, Demanding Universal Health Care garnered a good response over at MySpace and here at blogspot where I always simulcast the blog. The first response I got was this: Universal … Continue reading “Any Valid Social Contract Requires Universal Health Care”

Confronting The Absence of G-d

Confronting The Absence of G-d Filling the Gap Called Life I was born with some weird, unknown muscular dystrophy (yeah, Jerry’s Kids Telethon *gag*) believed to be related to the metabolic cycle. On September, Friday the 13th, 1991, at age 9, I had back surgery to put rods in and supposedly straighten my spine (unnecessarily, … Continue reading “Confronting The Absence of G-d”

Amos Shoves G-d’s Social Justice Message In Your Face

Amos Shoves G-d’s Social Justice Message In Your Face Nick’s Commentary on the Book of Amos All my life, I’ve had this yearning to repair the world and set right the injustices it is replete with. This drive has burned within me and spurred me to act and become an activist. As I study scripture, … Continue reading “Amos Shoves G-d’s Social Justice Message In Your Face”

Superstition, Sorcery and Torah

Superstition, Sorcery and TorahThe commandments to stay away from the occult, necromancy, sorcery, demonic forces and the like are explicit in the Torah. See Lev. 19:26 and Deut. 18:10, from which these mitzvos are derived. There’s an interesting split among Jews regarding WHY we have these mitzvos. Rambam says the mitzvah to stay away from … Continue reading “Superstition, Sorcery and Torah”

Nicholas Midrashim: Ishmael

Nicholas Midrashim: Ishmael Ishmael means “G-d hears,” because Hashem heard the pleas of Hagar, his mother. “And G-d was with the lad, and he grew, and he dwelt in the desert, and he became an archer.” (Gen 21:20) Notice I’ve shown (or tried to show) Ishmael drawing the bow with his thumb, the method of … Continue reading “Nicholas Midrashim: Ishmael”

Nicholas Midrashim: How Abraham Came To (And Left) The Land of Israel

Lech Lecha Cartoons by Nick, drawn in Paint Shop Pro 6. Much to the surprise of Abram and his camel, the booming voice of the Almighty commanded him: Genesis chapter 12 1 “Now Hashem said unto Abram: ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land … Continue reading “Nicholas Midrashim: How Abraham Came To (And Left) The Land of Israel”

Nicholas Midrashim: Noach

Nicholas Midrashim: Noach Noah Fails To Save Most Humans Cartoons by Nick, drawn in Paint Shop Pro 6. All sources from Parshat Noach Rashi teaches us: “Many ways to bring relief and rescue are available to Him; why, then, did He burden him with this construction [of the ark]? In order that the people … Continue reading “Nicholas Midrashim: Noach”

Glossary of Jewish Terms and Phrases (L – Z)

Glossary of Jewish Terms and Phrases (L – Z) For Future Reference After adding heavily to the glossary A – K, I bring you L – Z. Let me know if I mangled any or missed any big ones! Lashon HaRa lit. “the evil tongue”: gossip and slander prohibited by halacha, even if true. Lashon … Continue reading “Glossary of Jewish Terms and Phrases (L – Z)”

Glossary of Jewish Terms and Phrases (A – K)

Glossary of Jewish Terms and Phrases (A – K) For Future Reference HaShem lit. “the Name”: used in lieu of The Ineffable Name to refer to G-d Baruch Hashem: Bless The Name! used like, “thank G-d!” abbrev. B”H! B’Ezrat Hashem: “G-d willing!” or “with the help of G-d.” BS”D: abbr. for “B‘Siyata D‘Shmaya,” an oft-used … Continue reading “Glossary of Jewish Terms and Phrases (A – K)”

The Image of G-d

The Image of G-d Different Religions Have Different Views Of The Creator Hinduism Brahma Christianity Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Judaism and Islam LOL….. This is especially relevent as we just marked Simchat Torah and began our annual Torah reading again with Genesis. And G-d created man in His image; in … Continue reading “The Image of G-d”

Simchat Torah!

Simchat Torah! Celebrating The Gift Of Torah We just passed the holiday of Simchat Torah (“Torah‘s rejoicing”), the celebration of receiving G-d’s Torah as we finish Deuteronomy and begin our annual cycle of Torah reading anew with Genesis. Here’s a tour of Simchat Torah celebrations I gleaned from Google images…. A Torah scroll is unfurled, … Continue reading “Simchat Torah!”

The Best Of Nick’s Blog 2006

The Best Of Nick’s Blog 2006 Some favorites from my blogging for 2006… Governor Riley Refuses Federal Funding For Home Care My editorial on Alabama Medicaid’s institutional bias, and their resistance to do the right thing, even refusing federal help. Nick Gets Religion I explain what I’ve come to believe, and break down the Jewish … Continue reading “The Best Of Nick’s Blog 2006”


Sukkot! Festival of Ingathering! It’s Sukkot everybody! HaShem lays it out in Leviticus: “On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Sukkot, seven days for the L-RD.” (Lev. 23:34) and we know what that means! “You will dwell in booths for seven days; all natives of Israel shall dwell in booths.” … Continue reading “Sukkot!”

The Oral Torah

The Oral Torah What It Is And Why It Is Valid The Oral Torah is the oral tradition of the Jews spanning from the exodus to the present day. When the Jewish people were traumatically dispersed and the Temple destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 C.E., interpretations of Jewish law, which had always been … Continue reading “The Oral Torah”

Love Your Neighbor: The Whole Torah?

More Torah Commentary Veahavta l’reyacha kamocha, or, in English, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18) is one of the core mitzvos (commandments) of the Torah, and is in nearly every religion. This is counted in Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvos as its own commandment, but he also notes that this mitzvah falls under the … Continue reading “Love Your Neighbor: The Whole Torah?”

Serve G-d Without Thought Of Reward

Commentary On Sefer HaMitzvos It’s time for a post about Torah before Shabbas (Sabbath) starts. As I mentioned earlier, I’m studying Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvos, which lists all of the Torah’s 613 mitzvos (commandments), what they mean, their reasons, how to do them, and why they’re included as one of the 613. In my study of … Continue reading “Serve G-d Without Thought Of Reward”