Articles

"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.

Identification and Dislocation: the Breakdown of Worshipful Expression

Identification and Dislocation:
the Breakdown of Worshipful Expression

by Michael Haruni

One of the dilemmas we faced during the preparation of the Nehalel siddur was over the instructions, or “rubric”. For on the one hand there is, undoubtably, tremendous value in the detailed instructions appearing in the major contemporary English-language siddurim on how and where to bow in Amidah, where to kiss tzitziyot during and after Keriyat Shema, how to wave the lulav, and so forth. Baaley teshuvah especially have, since the advent of the ArtScroll siddur, found themselves able as never before to participate competently and confidently in shul procedures. The frum-from-birth users have benefited too, it must be said, filling in finer details previously eluding them.