Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Parashat Bamidbar: “To be an Honorary Levite or Firstborn?” – That is the Question by Yaakov Bieler

May 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Philosophy

“To Be an Honorary[1] Levite or a Firstborn?”—That is the Question! The Divine Plan to Set aside the firstborn of each Jewish family for Divine Service. Originally, God’s Design called for the firstborn of every family to serve in the capacity of Kohanim and Levi’im, performing the sacrificial services in first the Mishkan, and then [...]

From Our Archives: Yom Yerushalayim by Yonatan Kohn

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under New Posts, Philosophy

  On the eve of Yom Yerushalayim, it is only natural to reflect upon the monumental events of the Six Day War and their wider implications.  Tradition published two symposia surrounding the theological implications of the war and the larger issue of G-d’s hand in history.  The first, published in the summer of 1968, takes [...]

Parashat Emor: Shabbat as Part of Judaism’s Overall Dialectic by Yaakov Bieler

May 3, 2011 by  
Filed under New Posts, Philosophy

Various references to Shabbat within the Tora. “Shabbat” appears in every book of the Tora,[1] and prior to Parashat Emor in VaYikra, where we read the following, VaYikra 23:3 Six days you shall do creative activity, and on the seventh day “Shabbat Shabbaton”, a holy convocation, all creative activity you shall not do. It is [...]

Prophets of Today by Gidon Rothstein

December 19, 2010 by  
Filed under New Posts, Philosophy

We are used to relegating prophecy to the past, the bygone days of Moshe Rabbenu, Yeshaya, Yirmiya, and to see their messages as our only avenue to knowing what God wants from us (beyond the world of Torah and halachah).  While even there, I think we miss how much those texts could tell us about [...]

What Makes a Belief ‘Traditional’? The Case of Bittahon by Gidon Rothstein

November 8, 2010 by  
Filed under New Posts, Philosophy

In a recent article in Tradition (Summer 2010, 42:1) – now available for free download – R. Daniel Stein challenges Hazon Ish’s rejection of a particular definition of bittahon, trust in God.  A closer reading of the sources R. Stein references to prove his point shows that the topic raises thorny questions of when and [...]

Sarah’s Death and The Nature of Prophecy by Gidon Rothstein

October 30, 2010 by  
Filed under New Posts, Philosophy

One of the earliest divrei Torah I remember finding attractive and interesting came in the week of Parashat Hayye Sarah, and resonates with me today for the remarkable claims it makes about the nature of prophecy.  My elementary school principal, a wonderful mechanech named R. Abraham Kahana, gave mishmar in the Yeshivah of Flatbush Elementary [...]

Can Belief in Science Fulfill the Criteria for Worshipping Avodah Zarah? Teshuvah and Fundamental Beliefs by Gidon Rothstein

September 12, 2010 by  
Filed under New Posts, Philosophy

Who’s Crazy Enough To Worship Idols? Growing up, I remember finding עבודה זרה a totally foreign concept— we were supposed to believe that many years ago, benighted and backward peoples believed that stones and statues and trees could control their lives, and worshiped them to secure better outcomes. And we Jews, with a tradition of [...]

Law vs. Philosophy?: A Maimonidean Teleology of Halacha by Elliot M. Salinger

August 17, 2010 by  
Filed under New Posts, Philosophy

Indubitably, the הלכה is the force which affects us as religious Jews more than any other. Both in its study and practice, the הלכה has immense control over our day to day lives and long term beliefs, values, and decisions. Consequently, it behooves us to ask the question: what is the telos of the הלכה? [...]

Books of Interest: Rambam

July 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Books of Interest, New Posts, Philosophy

Moshe Halbertal’s Hebrew biography of the Rambam (Merkaz Zalman Shazar) is characteristically brilliant.  Although the first and longest chapter, nearly 70 pages, chronicles the Rambam’s life and his role as a communal leader, the book is primarily an intellectual biography, based on Rambam’s major works.  Each chapter is sharp and probing, providing thoughtful insights into the Rambam’s [...]

Halacha and Autonomous Religiosity: What’s the Problem? by Gidon Rothstein

May 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Halakha, New Posts, Philosophy

I first heard of Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo over twenty years ago, when I was a semicha student and he was already a well-known teacher of Torah in Yerushalayim.  I mention that because as I come to comment on his recent cri de coeur– “The Future and the Spirit of Halacha: Unconventional Thoughts in Relation [...]

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