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Rabbi Feingold's D'var Torah

Chukat - 06/17/21

In Chukat, there is a reference to an ancient text called “Sefer Milchamot Adonai,” “Book of the Wars of the Adonai.”  (Num. 21:14) While the book is spoken about as if the reader will know this source, by the time of the Talmud and the Torah commentaries, scholars no longer knew what this book was.  It is never again mentioned in the Torah.  Like several other literary works mentioned in the Torah about which later generations have no knowledge, Milchamot Adonai is lost in the mists of time.  However, in the Middle Ages, a Jewish philosopher named Levi ben Gerson or Gersonides (13th  -14th cent CE) gave his philosophical treatise the name Milchamot Adonai.  He perceived the “war” to be between those Jews who were influenced by the philosophical thinking and science of the day and those who were traditionalists believing only in the word of God.  He wanted the two worlds to be able to live in harmony, and his treatise was designed to help those in the philosophical camp to continue to find meaning in Scripture.

Thu, June 24 2021 14 Tammuz 5781