The Jewish Press has a bi-weekly feature in which questions are asked to a group of rabbis. Rabbi Marc D. Angel is one of the respondents and here are his answers to several of the recent questions.
Rabbi Hayyim AngeI recently published a book review in the Fall, 2019 issue of Tradition (the journal of the Rabbinical Council of America) on Rabbi Yonatan Grossman's new book on Genesis chapters 1-11. He combines classical commentary with modern literary analysis.
One of our Institute's core mission projects is our University Network, through which we reach hundreds of university students across North America and beyond. We send journals, electronic resources, and other materials to these thoughtful students so that they can engage with high-level content as they build their own religious identities. Our Campus Fellows have been running a wide variety of programs to engage students of all backgrounds.
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...
Rav Benzion Meir Hai Uziel and Rav Ovadia Yosef were two towering figures of the twentieth-century Sephardic rabbinical world. They seem to share much in common. Yet a closer look at their worldviews marks a sharp distinction in two important areas: 1) the definition of a posek (rabbinic decisor of Jewish law), and 2) the Sephardi-Ashkenazi divide.
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.