Articles

The Binding of Isaac: Extremely Religious without Religious Extremism, by Rabbi Hayyim Angel

The Akedah, or binding of Isaac (Genesis 22:1–19), [1] 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?

Halakha and Diversity

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?

Thoughts on a New Book on Tanakh

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.

The Tower of Babel: A Case Study in Combining Traditional and Academic Bible Methodologies

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.

Searching for Spirituality in the Yom Kippur Avodah Service

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.

Holiday Reader of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

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.