Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Brief Introduction to the Book of Isaiah

A Brief Introduction to the Book of Isaiah

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
Yeshaya (Isaiah) is the first book of the Neviim Acharonim, the Later Prophets. While the books of the Neviim Rishonim, the Early Prophets, focus heavily on the history of the Jewish people from the time of Joshua until the Babylonian exile, the Later Prophets focus on the actual prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the Twelve "minor" prophets. Accordingly, the Later Prophets are much more esoteric, full of symbolism and allegory.

The books of the Later Prophets occur concurrently with those of the Early Prophets. Occasionally, we will see familiar stories from a new perspective. (Compare Isaiah's visit to the ill King Hezekiah in II Kings chapter 20 with Isaiah 38 for one such example.) Isaiah prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah (Azariah), Yosam, Achaz and Hezekiah, though the prophecies in the book are not in chronological order. Some of his contemporary prophets were Nachum, Yoel and Habakkuk, who prophesied to Hezekiah's son, Menashe. (Menashe was the king who had Isaiah executed - see Talmud Yevamos 49b.)

Isaiah is different from most other books of the Prophets in a significant way. Most of the prophets wrote down their own prophecies when they had finished the active part of their careers. Isaiah, however, was assassinated. Since he died abruptly, he was unable to write down his own prophecies. Since they were recorded by different students, there are some stylistic differences in the book. Bible critics attribute this to "two Isaiahs," but this is unnecessary, since our tradition already addresses the authorship of the book and resolves this perceived difficulty before it even arises.

Much of what we know about the Moshiach and the Messianic era comes from the Book of Isaiah. (Chapter 11 is a major source of such information.) However, there has also been much misrepresentation of the book by other religions' missionaries. For example, the alleged prediction of a virgin birth in chapter 7 and the famous "suffering servant" of chapter 53. We will address these mis-interpretations as they arise in the text.

Finally, when Isaiah chastises the nation for their sins, don't get the misimpression that every single person must have necessarily been guilty of these shortcomings. We can all name the sins of our era, but we are also aware that not everybody is guilty of them. Similarly, in Isaiah's time, there were certain misbehaviors that were rampant, but they were by no means universal. (So, when he compares the nation to Sodom, don't take it too literally.)

The Neviim Acharonim are a completely different experience from Chumash and the Neviim Rishonim. If you haven't been exposed to them before, you're about to embark on a unique journey of Torah learning

Yeshaya the 1st Nevim Achronim starts tomorrow in OU Nach Yomi

featuringDr. Shawn Zelig Aster

Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster is Assistant Professor of Bible at Yeshiva University. He has studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion and holds a Ph.D. in Bible from the University of Pennsylvania. He has previously taught at Bar-Ilan University and was a Kreitman post-doctoral fellow at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be'er Sheva.
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Agent Emes will be back soon

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Memorializing the Murdered through the Teachings of their Master
The eight young men murdered on March 6, 2008 in Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem were all fourth or fifth generation students of the revered founder of that Yeshiva, more than eighty years ago, Rav Abraham Isaac Kook. The teachings of Rav Kook emphasize love of the Land of Israel and the People of Israel. I thought it would be especially appropriate to memorialize these boys by perpetuating his teachings. To that end, I plan to deliver a brief weekly lesson, based on his teachings, for the duration of the year of mourning, concluding Rosh Chodesh Adar, here

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Nazir starts Shabbos and here a great way to start daf yomi


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brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

[REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE TO DISCUSS THE DAF WITH THE KOLLEL] ________________________________________________________________

General: Dafyomi on MP3

Shlomo Shulman asked:

L'kavod HaRabbanim HaChashuvim,
I'd like your advice on getting a good budget mp3 player that is loaded with daf yomi shiurim.

My quick story is I'm involved in kiruv, have a hard time maintaining regular sedarim, and am looking for something easy to use that I can listen to while I'm running from place to place--which I often am.

My specific needs are:

1) I'd like you to recommend a very clear, interesting day yomi magid shiur--as I know, unfortunately, I can be easily distracted--and I'm sure you know of the best--l'toeles, my learning experience level is higher, baruch Hashem, so I think I'd appreciate a shiur geared towards that

2) I'm not a tech person, so I'd like you just to recommend a good budget player I can get (preferably already loaded with shiurim--or very easy to load)

The point is, I know myself that I need to find an easy system to do this, or I'm afraid it won't happen.

I really appreciate your help! I know this is not the full kavod limud haToah deserves, but I do believe I am seeking to do this to increase my growth on my level in the situation I am currently in.

Kol Tuv,

Shlomo Shulman, CT
The Kollel replies:

Here are a few options. Only the first comes with the player, but the others should fit onto any cheap MP3 player. ( has's advice about MP3 players for their Dafyomi shiurim).

1. The Shas-Pod may be what you are looking for. Fully loaded with Rabbi Grossman's Dafyomi shiurim, you can purchase it at .

2. Master Daf ( presently available at ) - features Rav Kosman's Dafyomi "review" shiurim, the 20 minute Daf. He is an excellent Magid Shiur, but 20 minutes per Daf is not recommended when learning it for the first time.

3. CD Daf has a version of their excellent Dafyomi shiurim in MP3 format available at,_Ipod/CDShas_-_MP3_edition,_Vol._2_(20_CDs)_jpcdmp2e.html .
This does not come with the player; you will have to transfer it to a player.

Otherwise, it is hard to recommend a Magid Shiur. The OU ( ) presents an excellent free Shiur (by Rav Moshe Elefant) and provides "pod casts" that can be automatically downloaded into your MP3. It is worth trying.

Best wishes,
Mordecai Kornfeld
Kollel Iyun Hadaf

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sefira starts 2nd day of peasch(night of april 20)

coming soon
so here something to listen to and thanks to computers it is not real music