Rabbi Halevy’s writings reflect a conflict. On the one hand, he firmly believed that we were at the beginning of the period of redemption. On the other hand, he acknowledged that no one knew for certain how the redemption process would unfold. Rabbi Halevy evaluated sources about messianic calculations, natural vs. supernatural redemption, repentance during the period of redemption, and other matters relating to Divine Providence.
Rabbi Marc D. Angel wrote this short essay many years ago. With the announcement of the new peace plan, the message of this essay becomes ever more relevant. Will the leaders of both sides muster the courage to wage a real peace?
The Jewish Press newspaper has a bi-weekly feature in which a group of rabbis are requested to respond to the editor's questions. One of the respondents is Rabbi Marc D. Angel, and here are his answers to some of the recent questions.
At 3 a.m., the train to Washington D.C. stopped in Stamford. I boarded with many congregants. I marched in the front row with Martin Luther King, Jr., and then watched him as he delivered his “I have a Dream” speech. It was an important moment not only in Black and U.S. history, but also in Jewish history. The next year, when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Jews were beneficiaries of newfound rights, along with African Americans.
Our National Scholar, Rabbi Hayyim Angel, published a new Book Review in Tradition (the journal of the Rabbinical Council of America) discussing the interface between religious Bible study and archaeology.
The core of Jewish liturgy traces back to the early rabbinic period. Over the centuries, Sephardim and Ashkenazim developed different nuances in their prayer liturgies. It is valuable to learn about the differences that emerged, to see how rabbinic interpretations and cultures shaped the religious experiences underlying prayer.
One of the great writers of the 20th century, himself a Holocaust survivor, was Primo Levi. In his book, Other Peoples’ Trades, he reminisces about his childhood home in Turin, Italy. In his nostalgic description, he remembers how his father would enter the house and put his umbrella or cane in a receptacle near the front door. In providing other details of the entrance way to the house, Primo Levi mentions that for many years “there hung from a nail a large key whose purpose everyone had forgotten but which nobody dared throw away (p. 13).”
During the past several decades, policies on conversion have become highly publicized. Many who favor the lenient position become intimidated, and choose not to oppose the needlessly stringent policies that have gained credence within much of the rabbinic community. A situation of this kind is inimical to the interests of the Torah world.
Orthodoxy has defined itself as a single group having two faces. One is outward-looking, engaging with the outside world in all its complexity, while maintaining fidelity to Orthodox faith and commitments. The other is assertively parochial, defined by those commonly called Hareidim, who are assertively inward-looking, creating all sorts of ideological and behavioral barriers to acculturation.