As some of you may know, for a few years I offered a course called “Ten Tough Torah Questions” under the auspices of the Toronto Melton program. I have often been requested to do another series but I’m finally getting off my inertia and doing it this spring. So this is a Request for Toughies (RFT). I’m looking for your Tough Torah Questions — the things that have always bothered you when studying Torah. This time around, I’m only planning a six-week session, so the number of questions is limited accordingly.

The rules are as follows:

1. The question must relate to the Torah — i.e., not something that arises only in the context of the nevi”im/prophets or k”tuvim/scriptures. It can be a problem arising from a specific incident in the Torah, a meta-question about the Torah itself, or a general philosophical or theological question that is triggered by the Torah.

2. The question must be productive and not trivial. Generally speaking, questions about names and numbers, gematria, and the begats don’t offer a lot of scope for analysis.

3. The question must be SHORT — one sentence long, maybe two, but no semi-colons or dependent clauses! If you can’t ask it in a short way, then it’s probably not a good question.

4. The question should be posted as a comment on this blog and will be subject to the comments of other readers. In other words, I’m hoping you’ll all feel free to chat about this here back and forth. I’ll take your opinions into account in choosing my Six Tough Torah Questions but I get final say. This ain’t no democracy.

By way of example, here is one of the questions I’ve already done:

Why didn’t Abraham argue with God at the aqeidah/the binding of Isaac?

No prizes other than a good discussion and some hard thinking. Submissions may be made for the next two weeks — i.e., to January 20th. After that, I’ll retire to my arctic fastness to mull and choose the magic six for teaching in the spring.

OK, it’s your turn.



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