This essay is a contribution from our symposium Toward a Just Political Economy. To receive a print copy and read the other essays, order here.
This essay has three sections. In the first, I present a brief overview of Jewish thought on the subject of political economy, primarily via Maimonides’s code, the Mishneh Torah, also known as the Yad ha-Ḥazaqa. In the second, I analyze the idea of the Sabbath, which, I argue, was originally conceived as an economic—or more precisely anti-economic—institution, and without which it is impossible to understand the Jewish view of political economy. In the third, I argue that the Judaic way of thinking about economics is relevant, and even essential, to people interested in thinking about political economy today. I argue that even in situations where the letter of Jewish law is inapplicable to contemporary polities, its spirit remains profoundly relevant.
A note on Jewish legal institutions: The Halakhah, during times of relative national sovereignty, was administered by local courts known as Batei Dinim (Beis Din in the singular). The executive branch, to the extent that it existed, was directly subservient to the courts. Jewish political theory provides for no legislative branch, for the simple reason that Judaism considers the Law of the Torah to be the first and final word in Jewish constitutionalism; the role of the courts was entirely interpretative. The only time when the courts were granted the capacity to legislate was in situations where it became necessary to establish additional strictures to protect the observance of Jewish law; such cases are rare.
I have done my best to provide the requisite background in Jewish law to make the concepts discussed in this essay understandable. A comprehensive treatment, however, is obviously beyond the scope of this essay. For more in-depth treatments, I would refer the reader to R. Isaac Herzog’s Main Institutions of Jewish Law, Ephraim Urbach’s The Sages, Their Concepts & Beliefs as well as his The Halakhah: Its Sources & Development, Menahem Elon’s Jewish Law, and Chaim Saiman’s excellent Halakhah: The Rabbinic Idea of Law, as well as R. Joseph Soloveitchik’s classic work on the nomocentric ethical framework of Judaism, Halakhic Man. Primary sources, many in translation, are generally available at sefaria.org. All translations of primary sources from the Hebrew in this essay are mine.
Before undertaking an analysis of Judaic political economy, there are two fundamental questions which must be answered. First: is there such a thing as a distinctly Jewish theory of political economy? And second: even if there is a Jewish theory of political economy, what exactly is its relevance to the current moment? Jewish thought, after all, clearly demarcates between distinctly Jewish law and universal ethics; what right, therefore, do we have to assume that Jewish teachings on political economy are relevant to non-Jewish polities? To phrase the question differently: are there elements of Jewish economic law which are applicable outside of the sphere of Jewish politics?
The first question, in a broader sense—whether there is such a thing as Jewish political thought—was propounded by Leo Strauss, at the beginning of his essay on Maimonides’s politics in the History of Political Philosophy:
A discussion of medieval Jewish political philosophy might appear to suffer from a serious, perhaps hopeless, difficulty. Is there any reason to assume the subject matter exists? Little in the present-day historical literature suggests that it does. When the medieval Jewish philosophers appear at all in current histories, they do so mainly for their antiquarian interest, as a link in the transmission of ideas. This neglect is even more pronounced in the histories of political thought; medieval Jewish writers appear to be regarded as irrelevant. It would not be difficult to find some plausible reason for this neglect: a people that for more than a millennium was unable to lead an autonomous political life and that for the most part was firmly excluded from governance and administration is not a likely source of independent political reflection.1
While Strauss only raises the problem in reference to medieval political philosophy, the question really can be asked in reference to the entire period from 70 CE to 1948: is there such a thing as an exilic political theory? The difficulty, Strauss suggests, is twofold: there is little evidence in the histories of political thought that would suggest the existence of a Jewish political theory, and little reason to suspect that a perpetually exiled nation would produce such thought. The second half of the difficulty, though not the first, remains concerning, but more about that anon. Strauss’s answer to the question is affirmative:
The fact remains that problems that we can recognize as falling within the province of political philosophy are discussed in the writings of medieval Jews. Speculation about political things has never been a preserve open only to statesmen and full citizens.2
There was an additional impetus for Jews in the exile to theorize about the good society, and especially about economic justice. Isaiah 1:27 promises that “Zion will be redeemed with justice [mishpat], and those who return to her with righteousness [tsedaqah].” Speculation about political economy, therefore, was seen as a prerequisite for redemption from exile. Additionally, and crucially, revelation in Judaism comes not in the form of mere ethical principles but as law, and the elucidation and development of that law, even when inapplicable for one reason or another, is seen as a sacred endeavor.The medieval Jew to whom Strauss primarily refers is the subject of his essay, Maimonides, who as both a philosopher of Judaism and a jurist of the Halakhah provides a useful model for the examination of Judaic political thought & political economy. It is Maimonides to whom I will primarily refer in this essay as well, for the simple reason that his code is the most comprehensive of its kind. Unlike its successors, the most prominent of which is Karo’s Shulḥan Arukh, Maimonides’s code, the Yad ha-Ḥazaqa, encompasses the laws which apply in Jewish polities and within the land of Israel as well as those which apply in exile. His code, unlike others, therefore contains sections on political economy which other codifiers simply omitted because they were irrelevant to Jews living in exile. This is not to say that none of these laws are included in other codes—the Shulḥan Arukh contains an entire book, Ḥ oshen Mishpat, on various laws related to business and commerce. It is also worth pointing out that laws of economics were not entirely irrelevant, even during the exile: there were times and places, notably under the Ottoman millet system and the qahals in Poland and Lithuania from the 16th century to the 1840s, where Jewish economic law was, to one degree or another, applied, yet, for the most part, Jewish economic theory remained, and remains, theoretical. Maimonides’s code remains the only major work of Jewish law (until Y.M. Epstein’s 20th century work, Arukh HaShulḥan he-Atid) to systematically address questions of political economy, and as it has never been supplanted by later works, it remains mostly authoritative.
Despite the sprawling character of the Jewish legal corpus, programmatic treatments of first principles are relatively rare. This is because Judaism, much like the English common-law tradition, proceeds on the basis of case decisions and steady application of law rather than pure principle. Readers who approach the Talmud or later codes seeking a concise treatise on the basic principles of Judaic economic thought will, for the most part, be disappointed. This does not, however, mean that no such principles exist. As I will elaborate, such principles are indisputably the driving force behind Jewish economic law. They are, however, embedded beneath the surface. It is via an examination of the Halakhah as codified and practiced that those principles emerge.
Political Economy in the Halakhah
Property rights are enshrined in the Hebrew Bible, yet they are contingent, subject to the strictures of Jewish law. God, according to the Torah, is the koneh, the ultimate creator and owner of the land and everything it contains. Therefore, God (and His agent, the Halakhic judiciary) retains the ultimate rights over property. For instance, Jewish law requires that a small percentage of produce harvested, about one-fiftieth, known as terumah be given to the priests. This percentage was not a mere tax; it was a precondition for consumption: produce from which terumah had not been offered was off-limits and its consumption was forbidden. The contingency of property rights ensures that abstract notions of ownership do not supersede the common good. This principle applies outside of the narrow confines of priestly gifts and the conditions of an agrarian economy. Maimonides, therefore, rules that “someone who does not want to give charity or gives less than what he ought to have: the court can compel him, and [if necessary] administer lashes for contempt of court until he gives the amount they have estimated he can; they may go down into his storehouse before him and take from him what he ought to have given; they may pawn his property to give to charity, even on the Sabbath eve” (MT, Laws of Gifts to the Poor 7:13). As Maimonides makes clear, property rights in Judaism belong ultimately to God and are bestowed contingently, on condition that property is used in a manner which benefits society at large. In situations where that is not the case, Jewish law empowers the courts to redistribute property in a more equitable fashion, both by compelling the owner to act charitably and, if necessary, by seizure of property. This concept may not sit well with American constitutionalists, for whom the right of eminent domain has been nothing short of antithetical ever since George Mason drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which stated “that no part of a man’s property can be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his consent, or that of his legal representatives.” Unlike classic articulations of eminent domain, however, Biblical law does not authorize seizure of private property for any and all purposes, nor does it vest the power of seizure in the hands of the sovereign: the famous episode of Navos’s vineyard makes that abundantly clear. The right of eminent domain was vested, rather, in religious authorities for the express purpose of economic justice.
The primary taxes, such as they were, in the agrarian economy of the Bible, were the aforementioned terumah, the small percentage given to the priests, and ma’aser, a tenth of the harvest, given to the Levites (who in Biblical times were itinerant teachers and did not own land). Those taxes applied under very specific circumstances, namely a temple state and Jewish sovereignty. However, as with most Jewish legal institutions, the tithes were adapted to exilic and post-agrarian conditions by the tannaitic sages in the early centuries CE. The late-tannaitic Sifrei, for instance, in an apparently now-lost passage cited by medieval authorities extends the ma’aser requirement to profits from business and banking as well as agriculture, an extension which produced the institution of ma’aser qesafim, the tithe traditionally given to charity.3
Additionally, Jewish law requires a further tenth (of the remaining produce or profit, or 9%) to be distributed to the poor. This tax applied every third and sixth year in the seven-year shemitah cycle. This second tithe was not, crucially, mediated by government authorities (as Malakhi 3:10 would seem to imply of the primary tithe), but given directly to the local poor.
A digression: the category of “the poor” in Jewish law does not merely include those of limited means. The economic and social benefits extended to the impoverished are extended also to widows and orphans, i.e., those who lack the family structures necessary for their provision. They are extended, furthermore, to foreigners and to Levites, whose religious vocations allowed them little time to work.
Poverty, in Judaism, is not considered the result of individual choices or of poor habits. The Midrash states: “There is a wheel which turns in the world; therefore Moses admonishes the people of Israel: when your brother shall become downtrodden &c” (Vayikra Rabbah 34:3). Poverty is a matter of fate, of cycles, whether cosmic or economic, which are out of the control of individuals or even of society as a whole. The Halakhah does not put its trust in cure-all solutions, and its laws are designed to mitigate and to relieve suffering, not to abolish it entirely. “For paupers will never fully cease from the land,” the Torah says in Deuteronomy 15:11; the complete abolition of poverty is only possible through divine blessings, not via utopian schemes.
Further provisions for the welfare of the poor include the commandment to leave a corner of every field and orchard unharvested for the poor and disadvantaged; a prohibition against doubling back to make sure that every last fruit or vegetable has been harvested and a commandment to leave them for the poor. These laws, according to Maimonides apply even in the diaspora, meaning that they are not contingent on Jewish sovereignty or the existence of the temple state (MT, Laws of Gifts to the Poor 1:14). Distribution of these gifts proceeds according to the schedule of the recipients, not the timetable of the fieldworkers, because “there are poor nursing mothers who need food at the start of the day, poor children who should not be woken in the morning and will not show up to the field until midday, and the elderly, who may not show up until evening” (2:17).
Beyond these taxes and required gifts is the broader requirement of tsedaqah. The Hebrew term, often rendered as “charity,” is difficult to translate. It comes from the root ts-d-q, which connotes justice and right; the male form of the word, tsedeq, refers to just behavior and virtue, while the female form, tsedaqah, refers to economic justice. As J.H. Hertz wrote, though, “it must be noted that the idea of justice in Hebrew thought stands for something quite other than in Greek. In Plato’s Republic, for example, it implies a harmonious arrangement of society, by which every human peg is put into its appropriate hole. . . it stresses the inequalities of human nature, whereas in the Hebrew conception of justice, the equality is stressed.”4 Tsedaqah connotes the overarching requirement to do justice and the duty to help the poor and downtrodden. It does not mean mere “charity,” a term which connotes personal and private discretionary giving. As mentioned earlier, tsedaqah is, in a society run by the Halakhah, mandated by law, though exact requirements are not explicitly laid down, and backed by the force of the courts. It is the architectonic principle of Jewish society.
The most concise treatment of tsedaqah, the seventh chapter of Maimonides’s Laws of Gifts to the Poor, highlights its all-encompassing character, addressing the reader in an exhortatory tone: “According to what the poor person [‘ani, a term with a theological-spiritual as well as economic implications] lacks, you are commanded to give him. If he has no clothes, we clothe him; if he has no essential household items, we buy them for him. If he has no wife, we marry him off; if she’s a woman, we find her a husband” (7:3). Tsedaqah, it is clear from Maimonides’s formulation, is not mere charity; it is the measures necessary to fix what is broken in society at the most basic and concrete level.
Ideally, Maimonides states, the portion of assets which those with means should dedicate to tsedaqah is 20% (7:5). The “middle way,” however, is 10%. It is important to note that these percentages are not taxes levied by state government and administered via bureaucracy; they are to be given directly to the poor of one’s own town, if possible.
One of the fundamental principles of economic justice in Judaism is that charity ought to be distributed at the most local level possible. In Maimonides’s formulation, “a poor person who is a relative comes before any other person; the poor of one’s household come before the poor of one’s town; the poor of one’s own town come before the poor of another town” (MT, Laws of Gifts to the Poor 7:13). This principle, which parallels the Catholic doctrine of subsidiarity, served several functions. First, it mandated solidarity within local areas, something which is often lacking today. It is an unfortunately common phenomenon: people with the means to give charity will direct their funds to high-profile causes, often in other countries or even other continents, while many within their own cities are left without food and shelter. Secondly, it helps to enshrine the household—in the broad sense, more comparable to the medieval familia than to the modern nuclear family—as the fundamental economic unit, but with the caveat that a blood relation comes before even one’s own household. Jewish law does not seek to erode or deny natural sympathy. Rather, that sympathy forms the basis for charity, which begins within one’s family and town and only afterwards extends outwards to the nation and to the world. This principle is all too often neglected in contemporary discourse about charity, and its rediscovery is long overdue. Increasing economic stratification has produced a situation where charity more often than not is directed outwards rather than inwards; the city is not considered as a political entity which imposes obligations upon the well-off but merely as a dwelling place. The Halakhic ethic is diametrically opposed to this state of affairs, and it is borne out in practice: organizations such as Tomchei Shabbos are designed to operate on the most local and basic levels in order to provide for the needy within their own communities. Localism in charity is an essential principle of Jewish economic teaching, and one which remains applicable today.
The Midrash (see Exodus Rabbah 1:10) describes the gradual entrapment of the Hebrews into slavery. First, it records, the Pharaoh mobilized the entire nation to work for pay, even working to dig the foundations of his new store-cities himself. Gradually, the Egyptians drifted off, leaving the Israelites to work. Payment was delayed, and then denied. The work was intensified from mere construction to an abject, all-encompassing servitude. Slavery, the Jews were well aware, does not necessarily emerge from a vacuum. Exploitation of workers can quickly shade into direct oppression. Preventing a return to Egypt—both in a geographic and a moral sense—was a primary concern of Biblical law, and therefore the rights of workers are preeminent in the Halakhah. “It is a positive commandment,” Maimonides writes (MT, Laws of Hiring 11:1) “to pay a worker his wage in the proper time, as it is written [Deuteronomy 24:16] ‘on the day [of his work] you must give his wage.’” The importance of this principle cannot be understated. Maimonides writes:
Someone who delays paying a worker’s wage is considered as if he had taken his life from him. . . he transgresses on grounds of “you shall not oppress,” on grounds of “you shall not steal,” on grounds of “do not keep a worker’s dues overnight,” on grounds of “the sun shall not rise [without the worker having been paid],” and on grounds of “on the day [of his work] you must give his wage.” (11:2)
Per Laws of Hiring 9:4, a contracted worker may quit his work midway through the day and claim the right to payment. Jewish law privileges the worker’s testimony in court as well: “because the property-owner is distracted by his affairs [and therefore may not be particularly concerned with paying the worker] but for the worker, this is a matter of life and death” (11:7). The Halakhah is aware of the imbalance of power between employer and employee, and therefore skews the law to benefit the worker.
The Halakhah goes even further than this in its concern for the welfare of workers. “One who hires workers, telling them to arrive early or to leave late: if they are not accustomed to arrive early or to to leave late, he may not compel them to do so [despite the fact that, contractually, they are obligated to]. If they are accustomed to having food provided [by the employer], he must provide food; if they are accustomed to eating fig-cakes or dates or the like, he must provide them, all according to the custom of the country” (Laws of Hiring, 9:1). An employer is not entitled to upend the lifestyle of his workers for the sake of profit, nor is he entitled to trample upon local practice. This second implication is no less important: Jewish law is concerned that capital does not become an abstract force untethered from local law and custom; it cannot be allowed to uproot even something as comparatively minor as a worker’s nap time schedule for the sake of mere efficiency. The law serves as a bulwark against the totalizing power of capital, which manifests when corporations like Amazon deny their workers bathroom breaks or sick days in the name of profit.
Maimonides, citing the Talmud, argues that the essence of Jewish law governing the relations between worker and employee lies in a Biblical verse, Leviticus 25:55: “for Mine are the children of Israel, servants [‘avadim]; they are My servants”; as Maimonides glosses, “they are My servants—but not the servants of my servants.” Membership in the covenantal community conveys equal rights upon all individuals, and those rights can even transcend economic structures and strictures. As Hertz put it, summarizing the whole of Jewish teaching on economics:
To understand the idea of justice in Israel we must bear in mind the Biblical teaching that every man is created in the image of God; that in every human being there is a Divine spark; and that each human life is sacred, of infinite worth. In consequence, a human being cannot be treated as a chattel, or as a thing, but must be treated as a personality.
The institution of the Sabbath is generally thought of primarily as a ritual law, similar to the other holy days of the Jewish calendar. The main feature of the Sabbath, however, is the complete and total cessation of labor that it mandates. The Sabbath puts a temporary but total stop to the machinery of the economy. It is, in a sense, an anti-economic institution; every aspect of it is intended to carve out a period of time beyond agriculture, artisanship, and business.
The Mishnah lists thirty-nine primary prohibitions, actions which are forbidden on the Sabbath, which are reducible to three main sequences of labor: 1. the procedure of bread making, from planting the grain to baking it; 2. the actions necessary to make clothing, from shearing to sewing; and 3. the sequence of preparing a parchment scroll to write, starting from hunting and skinning a deer (Shabbat 7:2). Additionally, anything which falls into the category of building or destroying, as well as setting or putting out a fire, is forbidden. Lastly, for reasons which are beyond the scope of this overview, removal of an item from one domain to another—for instance, from a private yard to a public thoroughfare—is prohibited as well.
The rubric under which all the actions prohibited on the Sabbath fall is referred to as melakhah. It is an expansive term, first used in the Hebrew Bible to describe the full range of activities which God engaged in to create the world. The only term which really approximates its scope is Jacques Ellul’s la technique, defined as “the totality of methods rationally arrived at and having absolute efficiency (for a given stage of development) in every field of human activity.” The heuristic which the rabbis of the Talmud used to determine melakhah is simple: if the action was performed in the course of the building of the Tabernacle, which after all functioned both as a mikrokosmos in the technical sense and as a microcosm of human society, it was forbidden on the Sabbath.
The Sabbath, like the rest of Biblical law, is profoundly egalitarian to a degree which is not often properly appreciated. Exodus 23:12, which presents the Sabbath not in the context of ritual law but as part of a list of injunctions to do justice, states the reason for this as follows: “In order that your ox and ass may rest (yanu’aḥ), and your bondman and the sojourner (ger) be refreshed (yinafesh).” In the version of the Decalogue in Deuteronomy, the radical egalitarianism of the Sabbath is even more pronounced: “Six days you shall work (ta’avod) and do all your work (melakhah), but on the seventh day—a Sabbath for the Lord your God—you shall not do any work; neither you nor your children, not your servant not your maidservant, nor your ox nor your ass, nor all your livestock, nor the sojourner (ger) within your gates; in order that your servant and maidservant may rest as you do.” The command to grant respite to the worker and the foreigner has an explicitly mimetic basis: “That you may remember that you were a servant (‘eved) in Egypt, and God took you out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day” (Deuteronomy 5:15). The observance of the Sabbath, it is implied, is a form of imitatio Dei: just as God grants respite to workers, so must we. And crucially, the Sabbath serves as a bulwark against the “return to Egypt”: the carving-out of a temporal zone outside of labor & economy ensures the existence of a space and time beyond labor.
The Sabbath also serves as a reminder that all human sovereignty, over other people and over nature, is borrowed. As S.R. Hirsch put it:
How, above all, does man show his domination over the earth? In that he can fashion all things in his environment to his own purpose: the earth for his habitation and source of sustenance; plant and animal for food and clothing. He can transform everything into an instrument of human service. He is allowed to rule over the world for six days with God’s will. On the seventh day, however, he is forbidden by Divine behest to fashion anything for his own purpose. In this way he acknowledges that he has no rights of ownership or authority over the world. Nothing may be dealt with as man pleases, for everything belongs to God, the Creator, Who has set man into the world to rule it according to His word. On each Sabbath day, the world, so to speak, is restored to God, and thus man proclaims, both to himself and to his surroundings, that he enjoys only a borrowed authority.5
In the biblical era, the logic of the Sabbath was extended even further, in perhaps the most radical economic institution of its kind, the shemittah year: once every seven years, the land was required to lay fallow, and its produce was to be hefker, ownerless, available to the landed rich and the poor alike, and all debts and loans were to be forgiven. And, in every fiftieth year, termed the yovel or jubilee, all servants were to go free and all lands to return to their ancestral owners. It is, of course, questionable to what degree these practices were ever upheld, and their historical observance was questioned even in the Talmud. But, as a radical extension of the spirit of the Sabbath, they are profoundly important for an understanding of Jewish economic thought.
The fact that the Sabbath prohibits absolutely every realm of human activity necessary for the continued operation of human society means that its ramifications for economics are profound: for one day a week, per Jewish law, the economy—with all the various spheres it encompasses—must grind to a halt. It is simply inconceivable to imagine such an institution in modern society. It would require the closing of every store, the non-operation of every public service, and Blue Laws to the nth degree. Our globalized, hyperactive economy is structured like a perpetual-motion machine; it is, as Jameson famously said, easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Nonetheless, it is not necessary, or even desirable, to import the Sabbath wholesale into contemporary society. What is necessary is the recapture of its theoretical underpinnings. The purpose of the Sabbath is to create what A.J. Heschel called it: “a sanctuary in time,” a time when human beings are free from the constraints of participation in an economy and able to recover the sense of dignity which that participation can occlude. On the Sabbath, man is not homo economicus but simply man, fully able to participate in a covenantal community free of the hierarchy which participation in even the most humane of economies imposes.
In a certain sense, Jewish economic law is as far from practical relevance as possible. It was promulgated over three millennia ago in the context of an agrarian temple state, not implemented (by the Hebrew Bible’s own testimony) for the vast majority of that state’s relatively brief existence, and expanded and elaborated by men without a society or state to which it could apply. It would be difficult to apply it to a modern (post-) industrial economy, even in the context of the small Jewish state for which it was originally intended. How then can it inform the way we think about policy in vast, modern, secular states like the USA?
The answer, I argue, is that Jewish economic law is underpinned by considerations and assumptions which apply at all times and in all places. It is motivated by a single-minded desire to see justice done and an egalitarianism which extends the right to food and clothing and shelter, and which takes seriously the duties which society has towards its marginalized and downtrodden members. Crucially, the egalitarianism of Jewish economic law does not stem from a naïve belief in “freedom;” as recent decades have shown, libertarian rhetoric can be paired with profound economic inequality and inequity. It stems, rather, from the opposite notion: that the human being is, properly understood, a servant of God and therefore no person or institution can impinge on God’s rights over His creations.
The Halakhah is also moved by a thoroughgoing localism, motivated not simply by practical consideration but by the understanding that human beings have natural sympathies, and that those sympathies form the basis for a just society. Jewish social teaching does not, like certain of its competitors (both religious and secular), wish to uproot or dissolve structures of family or community in favor of abstract notions of brotherhood. Rather, it cements those structures as the building-blocks of the just society.
The most important contribution of Judaism to political economy, taken for granted after centuries of Jewish-inflected thought, and yet all too often ignored, is this: An economy must be ordered toward a higher purpose, or we become slaves to it, hamsters on the wheel of perpetual expansion. If non-economic time and space are not carved out, then the economic sphere inevitably grows to encompass everything; human life is reduced to a rapid alternation between consumption and production and between exploiting and being exploited. This is, until the advent of Judaism and Jewish law, how nearly all economies functioned throughout human history. It is the norm in human civilization, and, over the course of the past several decades, has returned to haunt us like never before. Jewish law, therefore, is more vital than ever. Jewish law, developing as it did in an agrarian, localized society, may not be directly applicable to the globalized technological society of today. But its values and its ethics are timeless.
- Leo Strauss, “Moses Maimonides,” History of Political Philosophy, ed. Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey, 3rd ed. (The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1987), 228-47.
- Ibid, 229.
- See Tosafos on TB Ta’anis 9a.
- Joseph H. Hertz, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs. (Soncino Press: London, 1978), 821.
- Samson Raphael Hirsch, Horeb. (Soncino Press: London, 1981), 63, §141.
Featured image: Market in Jaffa painting (1887) by Gustav Bauernfeind via Wikimedia Commons.
Elijah del Medigo is the pseudonym of an Orthodox Jewish writer from New Jersey.