Many of the central themes in the Haggadah are rooted in biblical thought. Among other teachings, the exodus forms the basis for the singular covenantal relationship between God and Israel; it highlights God’s greatness in history; and it serves as the model for the future redemption. In this essay, we will survey examples from various sections of Tanakh to see how these and related themes are developed.
There is one supreme God who is the Creator of all nature, and there are no forces competing with God. God is absolutely free. God is timeless, ageless, nonphysical, and eternal. Nature is a stage on which God expresses His will in history. Rituals do not harness independent magical powers and do not work automatically.
With Hashem’s help, this crisis too shall pass. Until it does, your health care workers are all braving this pandemic to treat the ill. So too everyone must do his and her part to protect the most vulnerable among us. In this pursuit, we are all healers and partners with Hashem in saving the world.
Thinking Jews should be standing up for a genuine modern Orthodoxy that insists on functioning in contemporary world-time. While facing modernity has its real challenges, not facing modernity will lead Orthodoxy into a cult-like existence-- out of touch with reality, out of touch with the needs of thinking and feeling human beings…out of touch with Torah itself.
Self-initiated directed travel can be undertaken whenever decision-making is needed on a pressing matter, or when feels chronically bored, stagnant, or emotionally adrift. One chooses an unfamiliar location at least several hours
away by transportation, preferably where extended strolling or hiking is possible, and goes there alone.
For democratic Orthodoxy, the ideal Jew is a moral agent who knows how to determine “what is right and good” (Deut. 6:18), who is prepared to hold Jewish leaders to account, and who is faithful to Torah’s norms and to one’s own Torah informed moral compass. The democratic Orthodox Jew challenges human authority when that authority conflicts with Torah’s norms.
In response to the devastating Coronavirus pandemic, Israel’s government has outlawed public gatherings. In spite of the mandatory lockdown, there have been numerous instances of non-compliance among Haredi Orthodox Jews. Is it permissible/obligatory to inform civil authorities of these violations?
We have the possibility of a direct and personal relationship with God, and this is the route we should aspire to follow. It is, to give an analogy, the difference between having direct access to the President, instead having to make appointments with his secretaries and assistants. We have no need of intermediaries.
There are practices and some beliefs in Judaism that most people today would define as superstitions. My aim here is to investigate some of these in order to see to what extent these practices or beliefs are coeval with what was considered science at the time of our Sages.
Perhaps, under these circumstances, observant Jews must use telecommunications to keep tabs on isolated neighbors, friends, or relatives. Observant Jews in isolation must decide whether to use devices to call on their support systems.