Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

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 [...]

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 [...]

What is Lost as We Eliminate the Impossible: Jews and Public Schools by Gidon Rothstein

September 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Education, Jewish Culture, New Posts

Sherlock Holmes’ advice, “Eliminate the impossible; whatever is left, however improbable, must be the truth,” made a deep impression on me.  It seemed so logical, so unequivocal, so indisputable1.  In the years since I first encountered the epigram, I have realized some major weaknesses in its presentation; for our purposes, here, some of those weaknesses [...]

Our Writers Respond: Women, Communal Leadership, and Balancing Halakhic Values by Nathaniel Helfgot

I would like to commend my colleagues and friends, Rabbis Brody, Klapper (here and here) and Rothstein (here and here) for their stimulating and substantive posts in the last few weeks, partially in reaction to my original post on two halakhic issues that have been raised regarding the issue of expanding women’s roles in communal [...]

Our Writers Respond: Chukim, Mishpatim, and Womanhood by Aryeh Klapper (Part 1)

Chukim and Mishpatim in Halakha and Hashkafa              A core concept in popular Orthodox thought is the distinction between חוקים and משפטים as presented by Rashi.  In this view, mitzvot are classified by whether they do or do not have a humanly intelligible purpose.  This position is hashkafically alien to the Spanish philosophical tradition, and [...]

Our Writers Respond: The Component Issues of a Traditional Jewish Womanhood by Gidon Rothstein

You know that moment in a conversation where you begin to suspect that the two of you see the world so differently, it might not even be possible to have an intelligible exchange? I do, very well; I once, years ago, deeply offended a congregant and friend when, in the middle of a discussion of [...]

Women and the Splitting of Modern Orthodoxy: Confronting the Underlying Issues by Gidon Rothstein

February 23, 2010 by  
Filed under New Posts

My friend and colleague R. Nati Helfgot’s recent discussion of women’s leadership in communal settings is marked by his usual and admirable judiciousness, his concern to be respectful to all sides in a debate, and his hope to move our community forward as productively and peacefully as possible.  With all the respect and admiration I [...]

Balancing the Necessity and Abhorrence of Violence: Of Terrorists and Amalek by Gidon Rothstein

February 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Halakha, New Posts, Philosophy

Balancing the Necessity and Abhorrence of Violence: Of Terrorists and Amalek  Tu B’Shvat goes by, a holiday that continues to grow in popularity, especially as the environmental movement takes further hold (we hope), as we become more aware of our relationship with the earth.  With its passing, not to be seen again until next year, [...]

More Than Just a Line in Our Prayers: Remembering the Exodus by Gidon Rothstein

January 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Holidays, New Posts, Tanach

In the context of my Mission of Orthodoxy project, I recently noted that Orthodox Jewish men are required to twice daily recall the Exodus from Egypt.  While Rambam does not count this as a separate mitzvah, he does include it as part of the structure of the Shema that obligates us morning and evening.[1]  We [...]

Of Politeness and the Drawing of Lines

December 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Jewish Culture, New Posts

by Gidon Rothstein  Although this is not a venue for making political comments about issues of our day, the recent Chanukah holiday set me on a trajectory of thought that led me to questions I think are productive for all of us to ask, and I therefore wish to share them with you. To begin [...]

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