The very term “Spirituality” has in recent years acquired negative connotations. In Judaism, it is often associated with an expression of religious fervor devoid of halakhic content or commitment. It conjures up New Age pseudo-religion, unreliable, inconsistent, flaky sentimentality. To borrow a Christian bon mot, “Mysticism,” it is often asserted, “starts in a mist and ends in a schism.” Nevertheless both rationalism and mysticism are equally integral elements in Jewish, indeed all, religious life. It is the relationship between them that I want to explore in this essay.
When I served as President of the Rabbinical Council of America (1990-92), I asked Rabbi Moshe Tendler to develop a health care proxy for the RCA, that would take into consideration issues relating to halakhic organ donation.
It is well known that all mitzvoth fall into two major categories: those between humans are God-bein adam laMakom, and those between humans and their fellows-bein adam leHaveiro. The question we wish to discuss here is which of these two categories is, as it were, more weighty.
I can still hear the voices of my grandparents, parents and elder relatives speaking and singing in Judeo-Spanish. Although they have passed away years ago, I still feel their presence especially on Shabbat and holidays and at family celebrations.
Rabbinic bureaucracy is the problem, not the solution. Rabbi Marc D. Angel, Founder and Director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, wrote this article which was published in the Forward newspaper, January 8, 2010.
One of the most painful problems facing our community is the "Agunah" issue. An Agunah is a "chained" woman: she is legally married, but her husband has either gone missing, or is unwilling to grant her a divorce ("get") even when the marriage has collapsed. She is put in the untenable situation of being unable to move forward with her life; she cannot marry anyone else, since she is still tied to her missing or recalcitrant husband.
A glimpse at Sephardic life in the pre-Holocaust period. This article by Rabbi Marc D. Angel appeared in the Canadian Jewish News, September 17, 2009, and is reprinted with the permission of the editor, Mordechai Ben-Dat.
"The heresy of one age becomes
the orthodoxy of the next."
Keller, from an essay entitled "Optimism," 1903
Although Helen Keller was blind, she possessed great
insight. Her pithy statement, "the
A message relating to the American Jewish experience. On September 12, 2004, a special service was held at Congregation Shearith Israel in New York (founded in 1654) to mark the Congregation's 350th anniversary. Since Shearith Israel is the first Jewish Congregation in North America, this occasion also marked the 350th anniversary of American Jewry. Rabbi Marc D. Angel delivered a sermon at the 350th anniversary service, reflecting on American Jewish history through the prism of the experience of Congregation Shearith Israel.