Dr. Sperber is President of the Makhon haGavoah leTorah at Bar Ilan University. Author of numerous works in Jewish law, custom and theology, he was awarded the Israel Prize by the State of Israel in recognition of his monumental contributions to Jewish scholarship. This essay, which appeared in our journal Conversations (issue 3, winter 2009), is based on a lecture delivered by Dr. Sperber in Los Angeles in May 2008.
Judaism is a lifelong journey, not an array of perfunctory tasks. Our connection to God is a relationship, not an intellectual idea. The mitzvoth are a gift from God to enrich our lives through their meaningful observance, not to somehow entertain Him through their hollow performance.
The biblical book of Eikha (Lamentations) provides an eye-witness account--by the prophet Jeremiah--of the period of the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. Eikha is chanted on the Fast of Tisha B'Av, so this is an opportune time to gain deeper insight into the meaning and message of this prophetic work. Rabbi Hayyim Angel provides a framework for our understanding Eikha...and dealing with tragedy in general.
Waxman concludes: “As has been shown throughout this book, American Orthodoxy is anything but static. It has changed and will continue to do so…. Although we cannot know precisely what the group will be like in the future, one thing is certain: it will not be the same as it is now.”
The Jewish Press has a bi-weekly feature in which several rabbis are asked questions relating to Jewish values, observance, customs. One of the respondents is Rabbi Marc D. Angel. Here are Rabbi Angel's responses to four recent questions from the Jewish Press.
The Jewish Press publishes a bi-weekly feature in which several rabbis are asked questions relating to Jewish observance and Jewish values. One of the respondents is Rabbi Marc D. Angel. Here are Rabbi Angel's responses to the first 4 questions in this series of articles.
Our view is that we always must keep conversations alive, rather than allowing those who dogmatically espouse one or the other side of a debate to shut down dissent or alternative viewpoints from within tradition.
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.
The text of an address by Senator Lieberman at Brigham Young University, on the role of religion in American life. Senator Lieberman was the Honored Guest Speaker at the 10th Anniversary Dinner (held in May 2017) of our Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.