Category: Fundamentals

Allegory and Literalism 0

Allegory and Literalism

In an earlier essay, I wrote about mandatory beliefs in Judaism. What about the less central claims? There is a specific mitzvah obligating us to believe the events of yetzi’as Mitzrayim, the exodus from...

1984, NewSpeak and the Holy Language 0

1984, NewSpeak and the Holy Language

A long while back I wrote some thoughts on the dispute between the Ramban and the Rambam about what makes Hebrew the holy language, in the context of a general dispute over the context...

Aggadic Stories, History and Halakhah 0

Aggadic Stories, History and Halakhah

Someone raised on Avodah the following question (see the posts listed here under two different subject lines, “Kinyan on Shabbos??” and “Kinyan on Shabbos? (Har Sinai)” ). The first Shavuos was on a Shabbos....

What Exists? 0

What Exists?

Bishop Berkley said that  “reality” is a set of inputs G-d feeds into our souls. In His compassion, he allows us to work together by giving us consistent worldviews with each other. Which is...

Types of Thought: Gender Differences, part II 0

Types of Thought: Gender Differences, part II

In the previous post we spoke of gender difference in terms of extending society’s reach vs developing what we have – R’ Aharon Soloveitchik’s “kibush vs yishuv” (as discussed in this devar Torah for...

Why I’m a Man 0

Why I’m a Man

My son Shuby said something interesting to me over lunch today. Shuby is a very cute nine-year-old little boy with Downs. His ability to actually articulate the words isn’t caught up with his ability...

כג אלול תשס”א 0

כג אלול תשס”א

Tonight begins the 6th yahrzeit. It can be no coincidence that it is a weak before Rosh haShanah that we have the reminder of how a beautiful sunny day can, in the blink of...

TIDE, variants on a theme 0

TIDE, variants on a theme

In an earlier post, I raised one very fundamental difference between Rav Hirsch’s “Torah im Derekh Eretz” (Torah with culture, hereafter “TIDE”) and Rav JB Soloveitchik’s attitude toward the secular, which YU titles “Torah...

Synthesis and Dialectic 0

Synthesis and Dialectic

Rav Shimon Gershon Rosenbergzt”l passed away. He was more commonly known as Rav Shagar, a nickname he picked up when a friend starting calling him by the initials on the corner of his tallis....

Angels and Idols 0

Angels and Idols

What exactly was the sin involved in the making of the Eigel haZahav, the Golden Calf? Rashi (Ex 32:1 “asher yeilekhu“, “asher he’elanu“) says it was actual idolatry. The Kuzari (1:97) says it was...