The Jewish Press has a bi-weekly feature in which several rabbis are asked to respond to questions. One of the respondents is Rabbi Marc D. Angel. Here are his answers to three of the recent questions.
Kamtsa and Bar Kamtsa
The Talmud records a poignant story relating to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE. Although historians describe various political, sociological, and military explanations for the Roman war against the Jews, the Talmud—through the story of Kamtsa and Bar Kamtsa—points to a moral/spiritual cause of the destruction:
Ezra raised new leaders and engaged the members of the community to take active roles in their spiritual development. He raised many disciples, thereby broadening the base of the leadership and also ensuring continuity rather than dependence on him. Nehemiah tended to occupy center stage. He portrayed himself as an indispensable leader.
I’d like to focus on the articles by Menachem Kellner on Rabbi Elhanan Wasserman and Rabbi Aharon Kotler. These two 20th century luminaries cast Rambam into the mold of a Hareidi sage. When they read Rambam, they understood him in a way that Rambam himself would have found problematic.
As Americans mark Memorial Day on May 25, we pay respect to those who fought and died to gain and maintain the freedoms which we enjoy today. We reprint an essay by the late Rabbi David de Sola Pool on George Washington's role in fostering religious freedom in the United States.
Dr. Sperber is President of the Makhon haGavoah leTorah at Bar Ilan University. Author of numerous works in Jewish law, custom and theology, he was awarded the Israel Prize by the State of Israel in recognition of his monumental contributions to Jewish scholarship. This essay, which appeared in our journal Conversations (issue 3, winter 2009), is based on a lecture delivered by Dr. Sperber in Los Angeles in May 2008.
Judaism is a lifelong journey, not an array of perfunctory tasks. Our connection to God is a relationship, not an intellectual idea. The mitzvoth are a gift from God to enrich our lives through their meaningful observance, not to somehow entertain Him through their hollow performance.
The biblical book of Eikha (Lamentations) provides an eye-witness account--by the prophet Jeremiah--of the period of the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. Eikha is chanted on the Fast of Tisha B'Av, so this is an opportune time to gain deeper insight into the meaning and message of this prophetic work. Rabbi Hayyim Angel provides a framework for our understanding Eikha...and dealing with tragedy in general.
Waxman concludes: “As has been shown throughout this book, American Orthodoxy is anything but static. It has changed and will continue to do so…. Although we cannot know precisely what the group will be like in the future, one thing is certain: it will not be the same as it is now.”
The Jewish Press has a bi-weekly feature in which several rabbis are asked questions relating to Jewish values, observance, customs. One of the respondents is Rabbi Marc D. Angel. Here are Rabbi Angel's responses to four recent questions from the Jewish Press.