How does the importance of personal character, the ethical quality of the individual, compare as between a secular judge - say a United States federal judge or a state court judge - and a religious authority, specifically a rabbinic leader or decisor?
My father’s voice was one of “moral grandeur and spiritual audacity.” He spoke out in the prophetic tradition, and we are proud that he represented the Jewish people to the world. After the devastation of Europe, he gave us back our souls, reminding us of the greatness of Judaism and urging us to study more deeply, pray with greater intensity, and always remember what we stand for.
The concept of the Chosen People is fraught with difficulties. Historically, it has brought much grief upon the Jewish people. It also has led some Jews to develop chauvinistic attitudes toward non-Jews. Nonetheless, it is a central axiom in the Torah and rabbinic tradition, and we therefore have a responsibility to approach the subject forthrightly. In this essay, we will briefly consider the biblical and rabbinic evidence regarding chosenness.
The Book of Genesis
The current policies of the Orthodox rabbinic/beth din establishment are causing anguish to thousands of would-be converts and their families; are turning would-be converts away from Orthodoxy; are de-legitimizing Orthodox rabbis and converts who do not subscribe to the "establishment" positions; are causing thousands of halakhic converts to fear that their and their children's halakhic status will be undermined.
How can an Orthodox Jew in today's world maintain faith in Torah in the face of the apparent challenges of natural science to that faith? Dr. Menachem Kellner examines Maimonides' approach to the issue and then proposes his own approach, one which relies upon reverting to what he understands as classic Jewish definitions of faith.
During the Covid 19 pandemic, synagogues have been closed for quite a few weeks. As we look forward to the re-opening of our synagogues, this is a good time to re-think the role of synagogues in our lives and how synagogues can more effectively serve our needs.
When we reach the end of days, the unity that we are currently missing will be manifest and the Great Faith will be the reality for all. Our task is to build toward that future by uplifting the world with our commitment to faith, to our connection to spirit, to love our fellow human beings and acknowledge doubt along the journey as a necessary companion.
Modern Orthodox Jews do not recognize Da’as Torah outside the bounds of Halakha. They look to specialists for guidance on purely secular issues. Da’as Torah has been on the wrong side of Jewish history in multiple occasions, failing the Jewish people at critical times, including during the covid 19 pandemic.
We post this article in memory of Rabbi Nachum Rabinovich, who passed away on Tuesday night May 5, 2020. Rabbi Rabinovich, who served for many years as Rosh Yeshiva in Maale Adumim, was an outstanding rabbinic scholar who combined vast Torah erudition with general knowledge. His PhD was in Philosophy of Science. His views on the role of religion in society are discussed in this article.
This essay focuses on the articles by Menachem Kellner on Rabbi Elhanan Wasserman and Rabbi Aharon Kotler. These two 20th century luminaries cast Rambam into the mold of a Hareidi sage. When they read Rambam, they understood him in a way that Rambam himself would have found problematic.