Tseniut is not simply a system of prevention from sin. Rather, it encompasses a positive philosophy relating to the nature of human beings. While acknowledging the power of human sexuality, tseniut teaches that human beings are more than mere sexual beings.
Rabbi Joseph Hertz was one of the most influential rabbinic figures of the 20th century. He is perhaps best known through his "Hertz Pentateuch" found in many synagogues. As we approach the anniversary of his passing (January 14, 1946), it is instructive to become more aware of his life's work.
Rabbi Hayyiim Angel offers important insights on the Prophet Malachi and on the nature of prophecy itself. Rabbi H. Angel's book on Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi can be ordered through the online store of our Institute https://www.jewishideas.org/haggai-zechariah-and-malachi-prophecy-age-un...
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We must, however, ask ourselves how our halakhic system treats people who do not believe, and are not expected to believe, that this system applies to them. To this, our answer is that such people are not to be held liable or excluded as a result of their non-compliance with this system. Omer mutar accurately describes today’s reality. It is perfectly descriptive and non-judgmental, and should be a major part of our inclusive discourse.
People are greatly in need of a liberating religious message. We yearn for relationship with our fellow human beings; we reach out for a spiritual direction to the Eternal Thou. It is not easy to be a strong, whole and self-confident I; it is not easy to relate to others as genuine Thous; it is a challenge to reach out to the Eternal Thou. Yet, without these proper relationships, neither we nor our society can flourish properly.
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.”
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.
Even before the current pandemic, some had the feeling that "large synagogues" were facing serious problems. Rabbi Haskel Lookstein wrote an important article highlighting the importance of large synagogues. Looking beyond the pandemic era, we need to think carefully about our synagogues...and our community as a whole.
Rabbi Dr. Sabato Morais (April 13, 1823-November 11, 1897) was described by a New York Yiddish newspaper as “without doubt…the greatest of all Orthodox rabbis in the United States.” This encomium was written several years after the death of Morais, when a full picture of his life and accomplishments could be written with historical perspective. Today he is hardly remembered...but he should be!