Receiving an incorrect medical diagnosis can be very serious, even fatal. If one’s condition is not accurately determined, the prescribed treatment (or non-treatment) can cause needless suffering. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→
Rabbi Myron Rakowitz, a longtime colleague and friend has passed away after many years of distinguished service as rabbi, teacher and communal leader. He was a humble, loyal, and thoughtful rabbi who touched many lives. I am re-posting an article in Myron’s memory, on What Characterizes the Ideal Modern Orthodox Rabbi? Please read: https://www.jewishideas.org/article/what-characterizes-ideal-modern-orthodox-rabbi
I’ve just posted an article, offering an explanation of the enigmatic passage in the Haggada about the sages who gathered in B’nei B’rak and stayed up all night until their students interrupted them to recite the morning Shema. Please see https://www.jewishideas.org/sharing-vision-thoughts-passover
Thoughts to Ponder 524
Syria and the Scandal of our (Orthodox) Synagogues
Nathan Lopes Cardozo
“Lord of the Universe, I beg You to redeem Israel; but if You do not want to do that, then I beg You to redeem the gentiles.”
Rabbi Yisrael Hopstein, Maggid of Kozhnitz
and legendary Chassidic leader in Poland (1733-1814) (1) Continue a ler (Continue reading)→
The Talmud posits an important principle: the Heavenly court deals with us by the exact same standards that we use to deal with others (Sotah 8b). If we are kind and compassionate, we can expect to be judged by God with kindness and compassion. If we are cruel and unfairly critical of others, we can expect the Heavenly court to deal with us with the same qualities we have shown to others.
“Midah keNeged Midah”–being judged measure for measure–can be applied to political leaders and nations who act and speak hypocritically and hatefully. They may appear to be powerful now, but they will one day stand before the Heavenly Court. The standards they use to judge others are the same standards that will be used by the Heavenly court to judge them. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→
The Talmud (Shabbat 21b) records a famous debate between the Schools of Shammai and Hillel as to how to light the Hanukkah lights. Bet Shammai rules that we should light 8 lights the first night, and then subtract one light each ensuing night. After all, the original miracle of the oil in the Temple would have entailed the oil diminishing a bit each day.
Bet Hillel rules that we should light one light the first night, and then increase the number of lights night after night. (This is the accepted practice.) A reason is suggested: in matters of holiness, we increase rather than decrease. The miracle of Hanukkah is more beautifully observed with the increasing of lights; it would be anti-climactic to diminish the lights with each passing night. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→
In his book, The Perspective of Civilization, Fernand Braudel utilizes a concept that he calls “world-time.” Braudel notes that at any given point in history, all societies are not at the same level of advancement. The leading countries exist in world-time; that is, their level of advancement is correlated to the actual date in history. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→
Byline: Benjamin M. Friedman
Published on jewishideas.org (https://www.jewishideas.org)
Benjamin M. Friedman is the William Joseph Maier Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University. The ideas expressed in this article draw in part on his book, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth (Vintage paperback, 2006). This article originally appeared in issue 8 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.
The premise of economic growth has come under question, in many parts of the world today, from a variety of directions. We are aware, of course, that moral thinking in practically every known culture enjoins us not to place undue emphasis on our material concerns. But today there is more to it than that. With heightened sensitivity to the strains that industrialization often brings, including the possibility of permanent climate change, many people in the higher-income countries now question whether further economic expansion is worth the costs. In the developing world, where the advantages of rising incomes are more evident, some people question whether economic growth, and the policies that promote it, are just vehicles for exploitation by foreigners. And now that the current financial crisis has sharply depressed production and incomes in many countries, both industrialized and not, an unusually large number of citizens sense that their economies aren’t growing anyway.
By: Rabbi Marc D. Angel
In sorting out the genealogical information in the early chapters of Genesis, it turns out that Noah and Abraham were alive at the same time. Abraham was 58 years old at the time of Noah’s death. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→
Submitted by mdangel1 on Thu, 11/03/2016 – 00:00
From time to time I receive comments from Institute members about new “humrot” (stringencies) which are being introduced at their synagogues. In one case, the congregation engaged a new rabbi who promptly raised the mehitza, forbade women’s hakafot on Simhat Torah, and took a “black hat” approach to other issues. A group of congregants became so fed up that they quit the shul and started their own modern Orthodox congregation. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→
I recently received an email communication from an Orthodox Jewish organization stating in unequivocal terms that â€œOrthodox Judaism rejects the theory of evolution.â€ In certain Orthodox circles, it is posited as a matter of faith that â€œtrueâ€ Judaism does not and cannot accept evolution. God created the universe; God created Adam and Eve. This is clear from the first chapter of Bereishith, and there is nothing more to say on the subject. Any other position is heresy.
by Dr. Morris Shamah(*)
In 1969, a very precise and intelligent law student approached me in a rather confused state. He had just learned the proofs for the existence of God as presented by Maimonides in the Guide to the Perplexed. These proofs were certainly disappointing to him as they said little to his practical twentieth century Western mind. Did I read them, he asked-yes, I answered, but they also said little that resonated with my way of thinking. At least all but one, the proof from design, lacked the punch that one expects from such “proofs” Continue a ler (Continue reading)→
by Rabbi Marc D. Angel
Although we popularly refer to the upcoming fast day as Yom Kippur, the Torah calls it Yom haKippurim—the day of atonements (in the plural). The plural form reminds us that there are many roads to atonement. Each person is different and is on a unique spiritual level; each comes with different insights, experiences, memories. The roads to atonement are plural, because no two of us have identical needs. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→
By Nancy Khedouri *
New York was covered in a blanket of snow the Friday morning of March 4, 2016, when I arrived at the United Nations to participate in a Conference about Religious Tolerance and Pluralism and to share important facts about my precious homeland, The Kingdom of Bahrain. It was delightful to have met with many leading religious figures and to be enlightened by what each of them had to share. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→
By Dr. Richard Grazi*
Zika is all over the news. About 10-30% (we don’t know the exact percentage just yet) of pregnant women infected with the Zika virus will deliver babies with microcephaly, or smaller than normal heads. The medical consequences of this condition are those derived from restricted growth of the brain and include poorly developed sections of the brain, enlarged brain ventricles, and even abnormalities outside the skull such as congenital joint contractures. [1,2] All of the described anomalies are life-altering for the babies as well as for the families into which they are born. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→
Rabbi Dr. David de Sola Pool (1885-1970) was one of the great 20th century American rabbis. Serving Congregation Shearith Israel in New York, he was the best known Sephardic rabbi of his generation and the classic exemplar of the Western Sephardic tradition. When I first began serving Shearith Israel in September 1969, I had the honor of sitting next to Dr. Pool on the Tebah (readers desk) and of receiving his blessing. I’ve written an article on his life and work, and I believe his religious vision still has great power for our–and future–generations. Please read https://www.jewishideas.org/rabbi-marc-d-angel/rabbi-dr-david-de-sola-pool-sephardic-visionary-and-activist Continue a ler (Continue reading)→