When addressing a halakhic question, each posek (halakhic decisor) attempts to arrive at a decision that is objectively true. The posek will study and analyze the available halakhic literature, with the goal of understanding the halakha as clearly and accurately as possible.
In his book, The Perspective of Civilization, Fernand Braudel utilizes a concept that he calls “world-time.” Braudel notes that at any given point in history, all societies are not at the same level of advancement. The leading countries exist in world-time; that is, their level of advancement is correlated to the actual date in history. However, there also are countries and civilizations which are far behind world-time, whose way of life may be centuries or even millennia behind the advanced societies.
“There is a tear in my eye; don’t wipe it away. It’s my gift to you.” —Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
I must say at the outset that although my wife, Chaya, and I had some different motivations and experiences in our aliya process, we are both happy with our aliya. For me—and I am speaking about my own personal reflections and feelings—our aliya is the fulfillment of a dream I had since learning in Yeshivat Kerem beYavne in 1958–1959. It took more than 40 years—but it also took Bnei Yisrael 40 years to make it through the wilderness to the land of Israel. Personally, I am very happy with my aliya.
A year ago, the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals launched a campaign to raise $650,000. The goal was to raise funds to support the ongoing work of the Institute, and to begin an endowment fund to maintain the Institute in the future. This was a huge goal but vital to the work of the Institute.
We thank the 508 donors to this campaign, all of whom are listed in our Scroll of Honor. The Scroll can be accessed on our website. The campaign raised well over $500,000 in donations, and $161,000 in pledges. So we actually exceeded our goal!
On Friday, September 27, 1935, the Boston Jewish Advocate published an extensive interview with Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who had recently returned to Boston following a four-month stay in Palestine. In what is arguably the most comprehensive articulation of his early Zionism—if one takes seriously the citations of the interviewer, Carl Alpert—Rabbi Soloveitchik set forth in this interview his perspective on the role of Orthodoxy in Erets Yisrael.
Creating Space between Peshat and Derash
A Collection of Studies on Tanakh
By Hayyim J. Angel
(Ktav Publishing House and Sephardic Publication Foundation, 2011, 229 pages)
The very term “Spirituality” has in recent years acquired negative connotations. In Judaism, it is often associated with an expression of religious fervor devoid of halakhic content or commitment. It conjures up New Age pseudo-religion, unreliable, inconsistent, flaky sentimentality. To borrow a Christian bon mot, “Mysticism,” it is often asserted, “starts in a mist and ends in a schism.” Nevertheless both rationalism and mysticism are equally integral elements in Jewish, indeed all, religious life. It is the relationship between them that I want to explore in this essay.
When I served as President of the Rabbinical Council of America (1990-92), I asked Rabbi Moshe Tendler to develop a health care proxy for the RCA, that would take into consideration issues relating to halakhic organ donation.
It is well known that all mitzvoth fall into two major categories: those between humans are God-bein adam laMakom, and those between humans and their fellows-bein adam leHaveiro. The question we wish to discuss here is which of these two categories is, as it were, more weighty.