The Akedah, or binding of Isaac (Genesis 22:1–19),  is a formative passage in Jewish tradition. It plays a central role on Rosh haShanah, and many communities include this passage in their early morning daily liturgy. What should we learn from this jarring narrative with regard to faith and religious life?
The opening of Lekh Lekha raises numerous questions. Why did God choose Avraham? Why was it necessary to choose anyone? Why does the focus of Sefer Bereshit suddenly shift from a broad universal focus to a narrow, particularistic one?
Anyone who is even partially involved in the life of a traditional synagogue becomes aware, sooner or later, that there is diversity within halakha. It would be rare to find two congregations that follow identical praxis. Yet most people I know seem to live comfortably with such diversity. Isn’t this strange? After all, if there is one God who gave us one Torah, shouldn’t there be one norm for all observant Jews?
Prof. Elitzur has given us the opportunity to upgrade our understanding of many elements in Tanakh, rabbinic teachings, and even folk traditions. This volume enlightens our learning, and will foster a more profound love of the Land of Israel through intimate knowledge of the settings for the eternal prophetic narratives in Tanakh.
This article on the Tower of Babel offers a “textbook lesson” in combining traditional rabbinic commentary with contemporary academic Bible scholarship. These two approaches begin with different sets of assumptions, but each gives us access to greater meaning in the Torah. Taken together, we emerge with a fuller picture than with either one by itself.
It has become common for Jewish students attending American institutions of high education to feel bullied, threatened, intimidated or silenced. What should be done? What can be done?
The first section of this Reader includes short divrei Torah by Rabbi Marc D. Angel on Succoth, Shemini Hag Atseret and Simhat Torah. The second section is an article by Rabbi Hayyim Angel discussing Kohelet, the biblical work by King Solomon dealing with the meaning of life.
The centerpiece of Yom Kippur is the Avodah, a poetic review and, on some level, reenactment of the High Priest’s service in the Beit Hamikdash on that holiest of days. Our focus will be on searching for some of the Avodah’s spiritual messages often lost in its complexities. While some argue that spirituality and halakha are antithetical, I believe the reverse is true – spirituality gives halakha wings.
The Book of Jonah is a larger-than-life story of every individual who seeks closeness with God. There is a paradoxical recognition that the closer one comes to God, the more one becomes conscious of the chasm separating God’s wisdom from our own.
The "Holiday Reader" of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals was prepared by Rabbis Marc and Hayyim Angel. Part One includes a collection of short essays by Rabbi Marc Angel relating to Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Succoth. Part Two includes articles by Rabbi Hayyim Angel on the Akeidah, the book of Jonah, and the book of Kohelet. We invite you to print the "Holiday Reader" and enjoy it during the course of the holidays.