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?
Many Jews in our day, like many of our brethren of other tribes, are seeking to mend the fractures that divide us from ourselves and from others, and to find ways to heal the wounds that afflict us only seven decades after the Holocaust and the rebirth of Israel. Amid these efforts, an idealistic, scholarly nineteenth-century rabbi from Livorno seems, to some, to provide a beacon of hope and humanity.
The Jew is a citizen of the world and is part of it, and in this respect functions in the framework of all humanity. However, the Jew also is unique, separate and alone. The Jew is sustained not merely from the natural ways of the world, but also from the higher level of humanity—the level that includes the acceptance of the yoke of Heaven, mitzvoth, and holiness.
Despite our strong numbers and increasingly professionalized infrastructure, ask a Modern Orthodox educator how our community is doing, and you’ll likely hear ambivalence or frustration at best, apocalyptic predictions of the imminent demise of our movement at worst—certainly not the triumphalism or chest-thumping that our ostensible institutional success would seem to warrant.
It is with great hesitation and trepidation that I write this essay. I do not want to be misunderstood. I am in love with Judaism, rabbinic tradition, and halakha. I regard them as holy, and they are at the very core of my existence. Nonetheless, I am concerned about the future of Judaism and its impact on our young people.
The Jewish Press has a bi-weekly feature in which questions are posed to a group of rabbis. One of the respondents is Rabbi Marc D. Angel. Here are his responses to several recent questions.
Rabbi Marc Angel's Tuesday morning class will resume on October 29. We'll be discussing Talmudic texts that relate seemingly simple stories/lessons...but which, upon reflection, set our minds to thinking about larger issues...faith, redemption, suffering, hope, interpersonal relationships...and more.
The class meets at the Apple Bank building, 2100 Broadway, NYC, in the Institute's office in the mezzanine. The bank doors open at 8:30 am; class begins at 8:40 am and concludes at 9:30 am. Coffee/tea and danish are available.
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.
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?
How did I get here? It’s a question that crosses my mind every day. How did a feminist, culturally affiliated Ashkenazic Jew from small-town Connecticut —by way of Northeastern University, Harvard Divinity School, Hebrew University, a backpacking jaunt through Europe, and a new-age kibbutz—end up meticulously checking chard in a Sephardic Modern Orthodox home?