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I’m an engineer, graduated with a B.E. in Electrical Engineering from the Cooper Union, and working in that field in the Greater NYC area.

My interests are varied and include computers & computer programming, science fiction & real-life space exploration, politics, and religion; see my active accounts on Stack Overflow.

Read my (very sporadically-updated) blog, or follow me on Google+.


May
31
comment Synthesizing Differing Translations of Proverbs 18:24
BTW, the JPS seems to translate “אִישׁ רֵעִים” (ish re‘im) as if it read “יֵשׁ רֵעִים” (yesh re‘im). Perhaps it would be better translated, “A man [with] friends will come to harm, but….” Needs more research.
May
31
comment Synthesizing Differing Translations of Proverbs 18:24
@NoamSienna, good point on the pronunciation. I still need to indicate diaeresis on the last vowel; l’hithro‘eä‘, perhaps?
May
20
comment How can we determine when an image is a symbol?
@MatthewMiller, I didn’t think you’d meant that; I used that as an example of a clearly invalid reading.
May
20
comment How can we determine when an image is a symbol?
As an aside, rule #3 would tend to exclude most Christological readings of the Hebrew Bible [“Old Testament”]; Rabbi Hirsch would consider this a feature of his system, not a flaw.
Mar
28
comment Why did the Samaritans worship God in Mount Gerissim rather than Jerusalem?
@Mawia, they claim not to worship any god but God; and there’s no indication that there are any remnants of their old pagan worship still around. Things might have been different 2,000 years ago; you might get some interesting information by asking about the Samaritans on ✡.SE.
Mar
19
comment What did Isaiah intend with his unusual usage of “create” in Isaiah 45:7?
Zoroaster lived and taught long before Isaiah’s times (ca. 1000 BCE, vs. 700 BCE); the prophet may have been reacting directly to that philosophy. (Source: Rav Schwab on Yeshayahu.)
Mar
19
comment How many wives does Deuteronomy allow a king to have?
Actually, the fact that David did not marry Avishag is taken in halacha to indicate that he was married to the maximum allowable number of wives.
Jan
16
comment Did Pharoah have free will?
See also <aishdas.org/asp/2013/01/2-kinds-of-law.shtml>.
Oct
23
comment What do the days of Obadyahu's youth concern us?
Emphasis. It’s one word in Hebrew, and an easy way to emphasize what he’s saying.
Oct
21
comment A woman is not to put on a man's dress?
Not an answer, but on this topic: In the halachik understanding of this verse, the prohibition extends beyond cross-dressing to either sex taking on the gender rôles of the other; specifically, women are indeed forbidden from going armed to war.
Oct
21
comment Did Moses have an Egyptian name?
Remember that Pharaoh’s daughter had contact with Moses’ family, and even hired his mother as nursemaid. It’s entirely plausible that she asked the family how to say “I drew him out” in their language and chose an Egyptian name that had a similar sound.
Oct
10
comment What is the significance of Methuselah's name?
R.S.R. Hirsch has an interesting take on the names of both antediluvian lines, referring to stages of deviation from and return to God’s will, and the attitudes of the leaders towards the hoi polloi. If I can find a copy handy I’ll write this up as a full answer, but from what I recall Hirsch translates Methuselah as “casting aside [shelaḥ] the ignoble masses [methu]”; i.e., while some in that generation were righteous, they ignored their responsibility to teach others.
Oct
5
comment Satan: Stumbling Block or Accuser?
Do you have a source for the root set ([שט] or [סט])?
Sep
27
comment Ecclesiastes 4:12 A cord of three strands is not quickly broken
Looks good to me.
Sep
27
comment Ecclesiastes 4:12 A cord of three strands is not quickly broken
@Kazark, I've up-voted your answer based on the first two paragraphs. I also commented to note my disagreement with the third. Would you accept an edit to add the qualifier “From a Christian perspective…” at the beginning of that last paragraph?
Sep
27
comment Ecclesiastes 4:12 A cord of three strands is not quickly broken
Jack & “swasheck”: Agreed. Somehow we ought to distinguish the applicability of a verse (which will often vary greatly between Jewish, Christian, & academic interpreters) and its meaning (which will sometimes vary too, but usually not as far).
Sep
10
comment Ecclesiastes 4:12 A cord of three strands is not quickly broken
As @MonicaCellio points out, the trinity reference is not needed in the answer. From a Jewish perspective, this verse is Midrashically taken to refer to the Patriarchs. Not all of Abraham’s sons were worthy, similarly for Isaac, but Jacob’s sons had three righteous forebearers and so all turned out right since “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken”.
Apr
11
comment Why does God say he only revealed his name, Yahweh, to Moses?
The b- prefix would better translate as “with” rather than “in”, hence “with my name YHVH I did not make myself known to them”. Considering the strong association between name and identity, this can equally be read as a lacuna in the Patriarchs’ understanding of God’s YHVH-ness as their ignorance of the name.
Apr
11
comment Why does God say he only revealed his name, Yahweh, to Moses?
Why do you translate the words “לא נודעתי” as “I did not make known” rather than the reflexive “I did not make myself known”? In order to get at the translation you’re using, the text should have been “לא הודעתי”.
Mar
21
comment Why, in Ezekiel 28, is the King of Tyre conflated with Lucifer?
+1; I had not realized that those whose beliefs include Satan might also read these verses in an adiabolistic sense.