Rabbi Halevi was fairly conservative within classical sources, and deferential to his predecessors. At the same time, he emphasized the inherent flexibility in halakhah, since there are many options within the boundaries of halakhic discourse. If one shuts down legitimate options, one harms the Jewish people and observance.
Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch is a classic example of the knowledge-lishmah school of thought. Not only does he extol the spiritual value of secular studies, he explicitly derides those who see knowledge as a tool to advance one's career.
Our fall semester highlighted a communal symposium on October 21 on Conversion to Judaism, and you can watch the presentations at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GG17aaahdPQ. As of this writing, we have had nearly 1000 views! Please watch the video and send the link to your friends so that we can reach an ever-growing audience. Please join us at our upcoming classes and programs.
If we wish to understand the development of middot and derekh eretz, we must understand that there is no one method, factor, or place (such as school, home, synagogue and so forth) that, can by itself, assure the development of middot and derekh eretz in our children. The job is bigger than that. We must become aware of all relevant factors and how they interact—and keep them in mind when we educate our children.
Shemot 6:26. That is Aaron and Moses, to whom the Lord said, "Take the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt with their legions."
Shemot 6:27. They are the ones who spoke to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to let the children of Israel out of Egypt; they are Moses and Aaron.
In Parashat Va’eira, Hashem refers to Moshe and Aharon in two consecutive verses. In verse 26, He puts Aharon's name first and in verse 27, Moshe’s . Why is that?
How is wonder supposed to help us overcome the decisive religious and theological questions that we often grapple with? For Rabbi A. J. Heschel, the sense of wonder is so overwhelming that it conquers our doubts and questions about evil and meaning in a world that often seems absurd. Significantly, he is not on a quest to ultimate solutions, but rather “to find ourselves as part of a context of meaning.”
How can an Orthodox Jew in today's world maintain faith in Torah in the face of the apparent challenges of natural science to that faith? Dr. Menachem Kellner examines Maimonides' approach to the issue and then proposes his own approach, one which relies upon reverting to what he understands as classic Jewish definitions of faith.
With regard to central values and religious orientations found in the writings of Sephardic rabbis of recent centuries: their import extends beyond Sephardim by birth, to all Jews attempting to chart a course for a personal and communal life in which authentic Judaism and humanity go hand in hand.
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The plague of darkness might symbolize the need to periodically clear our minds and re-evaluate our assumptions. In the darkness and quiet of our inner selves, we can try to shed light on our opinions, values, attitudes and behaviors. An old proverb has it that “no one is so blind as the one who refuses to see.” We might offer an addendum to this proverb: “and no one sees so clearly as the one who has first experienced darkness.”