Sage Insights is a series of resource sheets and articles drawing on insights from Chazal (the Sages) to flesh out the topic at hand.
FilterFilter icon
How Do You Shpiel Chanukah?
An examination of our favorite Chanukah traditions - from a focus on the Sages and their insights - to answer the question of "how do we 'shpiel' Chanukah?"
Save "Sheet 365329"
Parashat Pequdei: A Torah Perspective on a Cloudy Day
Sage Insights on the significance of the Cloud of the Presence in Shemot 40:33-38 of Parashat Pequdei
Brian Tice812 ViewsFebruary 26, 2022Pillar of Cloud,Mishkan,Parashat Pekudei
Save "Sheet 387406"
Passover: Defining Kosher l'Pesach
Different Jewish communities have different definitions of "kosher l'Pesach," and those differences don't end with the allowance or prohibition of kitniyot.
Save "Sheet 388485"
Circumlocution of the Tetragrammaton
A presentation of the etiology and a defense of the Jewish practice of Sanctification of the Name via circumlocution of the Tetragrammaton
Save "Sheet 461794"
Parashat Bo and the Tzaddik
Moshe is regarded as the ultimate tzaddik and all tzaddikim after him are compared to him. The foundation for this can be seen throughout his life, but we find in a particular scribal tradition pertaining to how Parashat Bo is written a visual midrash illustrating this.
Save "Sheet 461438"
Hardened-Heartedness in Parshiyot Va'era & Bo
Three different Hebrew roots in the account of the plagues all tend to be translated the same way in English, i.e. "hardened." These are קשה ,כבד, and חזק, respectively. Do they all convey the same meaning or are there nuances to each that are not being respected when we translate all three the same way? How does Hashem "hardening the heart of Pharaoh" not violate his humanity, i.e. his freewill?
Save "Sheet 461226"
The Minyan Mandate
What is the reason behind the requirement of a minyan for certain prayers and liturgical elements? Why is a minyan defined as ten Jewish (shomer Shabbat) men? Answers are derived from and/or elucidated in Torah, Talmud, and later Sages.
Brian Tice715 ViewsJanuary 17, 2023Laws of Prayer,Nusach,Minyan,Sage Insights
Save "Sheet 460365"
Chanukah: Festival of Lights
With so many voices decrying the miracle of the oil as "a late embellishment to the Chanukah story" or even "fabricated to avoid Roman interpretation of Chanukah as inciting revolt," we herein examine early sources pointing to its validity.
Brian Tice671 ViewsDecember 25, 2022Chanukkah Miracle,Chanukah,Hanukkah
Save "Sheet 455321"
Mimouna: A Mouthwatering Moroccan Moed
What is Mimouna? Since at least as far back as the mid-18th century CE, the Jews of the North African diaspora have had a tradition of holding a special feast the day after the end of Unleavened Bread to celebrate freedom and a return to eating leavened foods. Though a recent tradition, some ancient traditions are incorporated.
Save "Sheet 398051"
Parashat Shemini: Sage Insight on Kashrut
The food definitions of Torah are not presented in tandem with any explanations, i.e. why certain animals are not food for followers of Hashem. While it should be enough to simply obey "because G-d said so," many of our Sages have offered insight into why these definitions are as they are.
Save "Sheet 394988"
Parashat Tsav: Yemenite Insight on Sacrifice
The purpose for and practice of the sacrificial system has been explained in a number of ways. The Yemenite insight on this is explored herein using both Rambam and 14th-century sources central to Nusach Teiman.
Save "Sheet 391706"
Parashat Vayiqra: The Aleph Calls Out
An examination of the reasons postulated for the small aleph in the first word of Vayiqra is presented, both from a scribal perspective and a spiritual one.
Save "Sheet 389138"
Parashat Vayak'hel: The Sabbath Prohibitions
The 39 malakhot (Shabbat prohibitions) is a list comprised of the 39 activities pertaining to the building of the Tabernacle. The halakha which stems from this is presented herein.
Save "Sheet 379801"
Sage Insight on the Oral Torah
The concept of "the one whole Torah of Moshe Rabbeinu" including both the Written and the Oral is central to rabbinic Judaism, but has often come under fire as not being legitimate and/or binding - whether by the Sadduceeic sect of late antiquity or by modern critics (including neo-Karaite, Islamic, and Christian voices). The etiology and legitimacy is herein examined through insights from the Sages.
Save "Sheet 384721"
Parashat Ki Tissa: The 13 Attributes of Mercy
The 13 Attributes of Mercy is the heart of Hashem's response to the Golden Calf debacle. It is alluded to many times in the Tanakh and is central to the selichot prayers which we recite on the fast days of the Jewish calendar.
Save "Sheet 383108"
Zayin Adar: The Yahrzeit of Rabbeinu Moshe
Zayin Adar, or Shevat Adar, is the generally-accepted date for the birth and death of Moshe Rabbeinu. Traditionally marked by fasting and special additional prayers, this is more a day to celebrate Moshe's life than to mourn his passing.
Save "Sheet 383218"
Parashat Tetzaveh: The Kohen's New Clothes
Sage Insights with regard to the garments prescribed for the Levitical priesthood in this week's parashah, as well as some orthographical observations respecting the sofrut practices associated with the parashah.
Save "Sheet 382959"
Parashat Terumah: The Mishkan and its Covering
A contextual-grammatical examination of some linguistic nuances of the parashah, exploring the significance and meaning of the Mishkan and its uppermost covering.
Save "Sheet 380294"
Parashat Mishpatim: Sins which Lead to Death
Parashat Mishpatim presents a number of legal statutes, including those which require capital punishment. Herein we focus on those, including discussion of both the scribal layout of the passage and the Sage insights into its exegesis.
Save "Sheet 378029"
Parashat Yitro: Torah from Sinai
What is the "Torah" that was given to Israel at Mount Sinai? Was it just the Esrei haD'varim? Was it the entirety of the Torah shebikhtav? Or was it the full Torah (both the Written and the Oral)?
Save "Sheet 376834"