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Jerusalem in Judaism

(7,186 words)

Author(s): Gruber, Mayer
The Rabbinic Judaism that emerged after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 c.e. took for granted that the city Deuteronomy spoke of as “the place God would choose,” God's capital city, is Jerusalem. The rabbis thus canonized the view expressed explicitly in the Bible only in Solomon's dedicatory prayer (1 Kgs. 8; 2 Chr. 6), that Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are a conduit for prayers to the one God of all the universe. The later history of Judaism revolves, at least in part, around the unfolding of t…

Language(s) in Judaism

(10,196 words)

Author(s): Gruber, Mayer
Language, especially Hebrew, has a theological significance in Judaism not commonly associated with language in any other religion. Three reasons account for this: (1) the Hebrew Scripture's depiction of the world's being called into being through divine utterance, suggesting that Hebrew is the ver y language of creation, (2) the presence in Scripture of verbatim quotations of God, again in Hebrew, and (3) the many acts of piety prescribed in Scripture and Rabbinic documents that require writing…


(10,800 words)

Author(s): Gruber, Mayer
The acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, that is, Solomon son of Isaac. This acronym was also popularly interpreted to mean Rabban shel Yisrael, that is, “ the teacher of Israel,” par excellence. 1 That same appraisal of Rashi is reflected in the application to him of the eptithet Parshandatha , the name of one of the ten sons of the wicked Haman (Est. 9:6) but treated as a combination of the Hebrew noun parshan, “exegete,” and the Aramaic noun datha, meaning “Torah” (see, e.g., Ezra 7:12). Thus Parshandatha means “Interpreter of the Torah par excellence.” Rashi was born in either 1030 or 1040 c.e.…

God, Image of

(4,185 words)

Author(s): Gruber, Mayer I.
Gen. 1:26, 1:27, and 9:6 all state that humankind was made or created beselem ʾelohim, 1 usually translated “in the image of God.” Gen. 5:1 additionally asserts that humankind was made bidmut ʾelohim, “in the likeness of God.” The four texts as rendered in the so-called Authorized Version or King James Version (hereinafter kjv) of the Bible. read as follows: 1) And God said: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea…. (Gen. 1:26) 2) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female cr…

Biblical Interpretation in Rabbinic Literature: Historical and Philological Aspects

(12,856 words)

Author(s): Gruber, Mayer I.
Rashi (1040–1105), the single most influential Jewish biblical commentator of all time, bequeathed to modern scholarship on Judaism two contradictory definitions of what he called midrash. In his Commentary on Gen. 3:8 and his Introduction to his Commentary on the Song of Songs, Rashi explains that he chose from among the many midrashim written about a given biblical text those midrashim that are congruent with biblical grammar, syntax, and lexicography. On the other hand, throughout his biblical commentaries, Rashi distinguishes between peshuto meaning “literal meaning” and midr…