Articles

Book Review: The Crown of Solomon and Other Stories

The Crown of Solomon and Other Stories, is a second work of fiction by Rabbi Marc Angel. His first work of fiction, The Search Committee, is a series of thirteen monologues delivered by eleven people to a search committee seeking a new Rosh Yeshiva for Yeshivat Lita, pictured as a hareidi yeshiva located in Manhattan. In it, Angel creates eleven different voices all arguing their case in favor of one of two candidates for the position, one candidate representing the history of the yeshiva, the other a candidate for change. The novel is a novel of ideas which, though of broad interest, are particularly relevant in the Orthodox community

Mourning the Three Murdered Israeli Teenagers

The Torah records the reaction of Aaron when he learned the sad news of the tragic deaths of his sons: “Aaron was silent,” vayidom Aharon. Commentators have offered various explanations of Aaron’s silence. He may have been speechless due to shock; he may have had angry thoughts in his heart, but he controlled himself from uttering them; he may have been silent as a sign of acceptance of God’s judgment.

Within biblical tradition, there are a number of phrases relating to confrontation with tragedy.

“Min haMetsar Karati Y-ah,” I call out to God from distress. When in pain, it is natural to cry out to God, to shed tears, to lament our sufferings and our losses. To cry out when we are in distress is a first step in the grieving process.

"Peshat Isn't So Simple"-- a Book Review

Review by Israel Drazin

Peshat Isn’t so Simple
By Rabbi Hayyim Angel
Kodesh Press, 2014, 311 pages

For over two millennia most Jewish Bible commentators did not explain the Bible’s plain meaning, called “peshat” in Hebrew, but used the biblical verses and events as sources for homiletical lessons. Some exceptions existed, such as the writings of Maimonides, Abraham ibn Ezra, and Rashbam. Unfortunately many people thought that what rabbis told them in sermons was what the Bible actually states. They believed imaginative stories, such as Abraham destroying his father’s idols, are events told in the Torah.

The Provocative Readings on the High Holy Days

The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals
Invites you to
Two Wednesday Morning Classes

With Rabbi Hayyim Angel

"The Provocative Readings on the High Holy Days"

This two-part mini-series will delve into the most difficult readings
of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur: the Binding of Isaac and the Book of Jonah. We will consider the text inside and explore ancient and contemporary interpreters in an effort to understand their central messages.

August 13: The Binding of Isaac
August 20: The Book of Jonah

When: 8:40 to 9:40 a.m. (doors open at 8:30 a.m.)

Where: Mezzanine of Apple Bank for Savings, Broadway between 73rd and 74th Streets, New York; Please enter the revolving doors, turn left to the stairwell leading up to the Mezzanine level.

Film Review: "Ida"

The Film Ida
A review by Roger Mesznik; July 14, 2014

Today, Lynn and I saw (with friends) the film IDA, a Polish film provided with English subtitles.

I was moved and puzzled, induced to think and grieve, and left a bit cold. I am very glad to have seen it, and I recommend it.

Will Our Boys Fight Again?

Throughout the centuries, historians, philosophers and anthropologists have struggled with the concept called Israel more than with nearly any other idea. While attempting to place Israel within the confines of conventional history, they experienced constant academic and philosophical frustration. Any definitions they suggested eventually broke down due to significant inconsistencies. Was Israel a nation, a religion or an altogether mysterious entity that would forever remain unexplainable? By some, it was seen less as a nation and more as a religion; others believed the reverse to be true. And then there were those who claimed that it does not fall into either of these categories.