Religion produces the very best type of people: saintly, humble, compassionate, and genuinely pious. But we cannot help but notice that religion also produces—or at least harbors—the very worst type of people: terrorists, bigoted zealots, and self-righteous egotists. So religion has two faces: one that is righteous and compassionate; and one that is self-righteous and hate-filled.
Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak ha-Cohen Kook (1865–1935) is, without doubt, one of the most celebrated rabbis of the twentieth century. He is known to most people simply as Rav Kook, the founder of Religious Zionism, and we frequently overlook the fact that the foundations of his teachings reflect a deep modernization of the Jewish faith itself and of its approach to an array of contemporary problems.
Judaism is much about do-ing. But it is about much more than do-ing. It is do-ing plus. It is do-ing with care, it is do-ing with kindness, it is do-ing in a transcending manner; in a word - do-ing with heart and soul.
For Modern Orthodoxy to succeed in meeting its responsibility, it will be necessary for us to recognize that we are part of the contemporary world-time. We should have a blue ribbon panel composed of Modern Orthodox rabbinic scholars who will be willing to come up with specific halakhic rulings for our generation. If we have the confidence and good sense to lead, we may be surprised to find that many people are ready to follow.
Jake Nussbaum, a student at Yeshiva University, is summer intern for our Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals. Here is his Devar Torah on this week's Torah reading.
Rabbi Uziel believed that the purpose of the State of Israel on the world scene is to serve as a model nation, characterized by moral excellence. Just as individuals are religiously required to participate in the life of society, the Jewish people as a nation must participate in the life of the community of nations.
Tanakh is not a systematic theology, science, or history. We treat nearly all of Tanakh as historical, but God did not reveal prophecies to the prophets in order to teach science or history. God is speaking to us, and it is our religious obligation to hear, understand, and listen to that voice. We take all of the texts seriously, even if some of them may be understood as non-literal.
We are thrilled to present the YouTube video of our fascinating program on Breastfeeding, Halakhah, and Sensitivity. On Sunday, June 6, 2021, Rabbi Hayyim Angel introduced keynote speaker Dr. Deena Zimmerman. Dr. Zimmerman presented up-to-date scientific data on breastfeeding health issues for baby and mother, and then addressed various halakhic issues through an excellent blend of halakhah, science, and human sensitivity. A must see presentation for our entire community, which reflects the core values of our Institute regarding this important topic. Here is the link:
What does it mean to say that the State of Israel is the “State of the Jews” or, more accurately, the “Jewish State”?
Holocaust scholarship is finally making up for nearly eight decades of inadequate attention to the impact of the Shoah (1933 - ’45) on approximately 430,000 Sephardi Jews from Europe, Morocco, Algiers, Tunisia, and Libya, etc., over 160,000 of whom perished in the catastrophe.