One modern technique of responsible stewardship is the “stress test.” This technique forces leaders to consider the effects of undesirable and even unjust possibilities they might otherwise ignore. Can religious ideologies be stress-tested?
There are evil people in the world whose wickedness is so deep that they cannot be redeemed. Don’t be a naïve believer in the goodness of all humans. But don’t completely give up your naivety. Because once you lose that naivety, the fire within you dies…along with hope for the ultimate redemption of humanity.
S. Y. Agnon, born in August 1887, was an Israeli author who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1966. His writings are infused with deep love of the Bible, Talmud, Israel...the Jewish People and the Jewish historical experience. In this short essay, Rabbi Marc Angel explores some of Agnon's major themes.
All groups need discerning judgment. Even Orthodox Jews who restrict their broader exposure and encounter mostly rabbinic influences must differentiate between more and less reasonable voices.
Attempts to portray our biblical heroes or rabbinic sages as perfect saints is not only an affront to them and to truth: it actually promotes a religiously problematic worldview.
We need to get beyond the “victim mentality.” We need to do far more to foster a positive, confident and courageous Jewish people. We need to publicize and promote philo-Semitism.
Societies (and empires) unravel when people lose trust in each other. This is seldom an abrupt dissolution, but—as in the times of Noah—a gradual breakdown in elementary decency.
Rabbi Hayyim Angel writes short book reviews of recently published books of interest. This article appears in issue 42 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.
Rabbi Yaakov Beasley writes a review essay on Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun's book, Prophets Against Empires.
Can we say with honesty that terrorists, murderers, rapists and thieves were created in God’s image, that their lives are infinitely precious? I can't.