The first and the twentieth centuries were tumultuous times for Jews: the destruction of the Temple and the beginnings of exile on the one hand; the Holocaust and the foundation of the State of Israel on the other. The major common denominator is the rupture of a long status quo and the need to adapt to new circumstances.
Maimonides’ extensive writings are both important and relevant for the rapidly growing field of knowledge: namely, positive psychology. Why? Many people are seeking to gain a greater sense of spirituality in their lives. This article highlights Maimonides’ teachings related to this important new specialty, what its originators have called “the study of character strengths and virtues.”
Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (May 24, 1870-July 9,1938) was one of the greatest American jurists. He served as Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals from 1926 until his appointment to the United States Supreme Court in 1932. He was known for his calm wisdom, personal dignity, and his commitment to social justice. His speeches and writings were characterized by clear thinking and graceful style.
A few spoons of inspired foolery can shape the way we view the world. In terrible times, dare we waste time on humor? Dare we not?
Within the Orthodox world, reverence toward heroes and the Sages must be balanced with fidelity to the biblical text, commitment to prophetic integrity, and commitment to truth in scholarship. The Torah teaches both particularistic and universalistic values, and it is critical to adopt both in a faithful religious worldview.
Victor Hugo observed that “narrow horizons beget stunted ideas.” Classic Judaism has included an idealistic universalistic world-view. Judaism’s horizons have been great; and it has begotten great ideas. The challenge to modern Jews is to remain faithful to their distinctive mitzvot while maintaining a universalistic ethical idealism.
It is with great gratitude that I announce the publication of my new book, Psalms: A Companion Volume (New York: Kodesh Press, 2022).
The premise of economic growth has come under question, in many parts of the world today, from a variety of directions. We are aware, of course, that moral thinking in practically every known culture enjoins us not to place undue emphasis on our material concerns. But today there is more to it than that. With heightened sensitivity to the strains that industrialization often brings, including the possibility of permanent climate change, many people in the higher-income countries now question whether further economic expansion is worth the costs.
Far beyond physical nourishment, breastfeeding highlights the mother’s role in shaping a child’s religious identity. Prophets and psalmists draw further inferences through poetic usage of the imagery to describe how breastfeeding confers identity and status onto a child. Finally, a relationship with God ideally is characterized by humility and contentment, paralleled to a weaned child with its mother.
This study contrasts the legal rhetoric regarding the abortion issue. What does the plain sense of the canonical library actually prescribe? And what is the view of that version of Orthodox Judaism that bases itself on the intuitive consensus of an elite group of rabbis through a kind of "continuous revelation"?