King Solomon, the Lord of the Demons, and the Limits of Virtue Ethics

King Solomon is known for his wisdom, for his glorious and pacific reign over a united Israel, and also for the moral corruption of his old age. In one of its longest, and perhaps one of its most baffling, tales about a biblical figure, the Talmud describes how Solomon once succeeded in capturing Ashm’dai (Asmodeus), ruler of the demons. At the story’s end, Ashm’dai impersonates Solomon, sitting on his throne while the real king wanders the land as a beggar. The late Israeli rabbi Naḥum Eliezer Rabinovitch, in an essay translated into English by Elli Fischer, subjects this narrative to a meticulous allegorical reading, which he uses to explain the contradictions of the biblical monarch:

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Read more at Lehrhaus

More about: Jewish ethics, Jewish Thought, Judaism, King Solomon, Talmud

Hamas and Fatah Compete by Shedding Jewish Blood

During the past four weeks, there has been a rash of violent attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank. These are not a response to any Israeli actions, nor are they spontaneous outbursts. Rather, as Itamar Marcus and Maurice Hirsch explain, the violence is the result of deliberate incitement by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which began when its president, Mahmoud Abbas, realized he was unlikely to win the upcoming national elections. The violence, write Marcus and Hirsch, was originally a way to win votes, and is now a way to maintain popularity after Abbas’s decision to postpone the elections in definitely:

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Read more at JNS

More about: Fatah, Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian terror