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.
Rabbi Emanual Rackman was a self-defined Orthodox Jew whose traditional Judaism was informed by and was synthesized with his chosen secular discipline, Political Science. He took God’s will and human dignity seriously, even when the two seem to conflict.
A few spoons of inspired foolery can shape the way we view the world. In terrible times, dare we waste time on humor? Dare we not?
Judaism includes the basic tenets of belief in one God, divine revelation of the Torah including an Oral Law, divine providence, reward-punishment, and a messianic redemption. The question for believing Jews today is, how should we relate to the overwhelming majority of contemporary Jews, who likely do not fully believe in classical Jewish beliefs? Two medieval models shed light on this question.
The current religious educational system encourages people to accept the authority of the major Torah scholars of the generation and to obey them unquestioningly, thereby creating a culture of dependency and submission. We must return to and deepen appreciation of independent thought, personal freedom and individual empowerment. Talmudic tradition and adjudication teach us that no Rabbi, no matter how great, is sacred nor should he be revered as a Lord over us.
Moses Maimonides died in early December 1204. He was a unique figure in Jewish history and has had an enormous impact on halakha and philosophy. He fostered a religious worldview marked by reason and clear thinking.