Category: Fundamentals

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Brisker Dialectics

I think Rav Yosef Ber Soloveitchik’s fascination with Neo-Kantianism was in part due to the similarity between a Kantian antinomy or neo-Kantian dialectic and the Brisker chaqira.   (Another factor was simply that neo-Kantianism...

Mysticism and Rationalism 0

Mysticism and Rationalism

A lot has been said on-line about Mystical (e.g. Qabbalah) and Rationalist (e.g. the Rambam) approaches to Judaism. In this post, I aspire to propose clear definitions of these terms. Because much of the...

Who knows 4? 0

Who knows 4?

Someone named Ray asked on Mi Yodea (in part), “What is the special fundamental significance of the number four that God’s primary Name has four letters”? I liked how my answer came out, so...

Why are there poor people 0

Why are there poor people

The gemara tells a story on Bava Basra 10a: שאל טורנוסרופוס הרשע את ר”ע: אם אלהיכם אוהב עניים הוא, מפני מה אינו מפרנסם? א”ל: כדי שניצול אנו בהן מדינה של גיהנם. א”ל: [אדרבה!] זו...

So, Should I Believe? 0

So, Should I Believe?

If the topic of how far we can stretch Orthodox believes, and whether Dr Farber’s paper violates those limists bore you, you might want to skip ahead to the subtitle “Toward an Orthodox Epistemology“....

The Limits of Orthodoxy 0

The Limits of Orthodoxy

I feel a need to chime in about the contretemps about Dr Zev Farber’s essay “Avraham Avinu is My Father: Thoughts on Torah, History and Judaism” on thetorah.com. But first I want to lay...

Orthodoxy and Biblical Criticism 0

Orthodoxy and Biblical Criticism

This is part two of my reactions to the internet discussions about Dr Zev Farber’s essay “Avraham Avinu is My Father: Thoughts on Torah, History and Judaism” on thetorah.com. In the first part, I...

The Rambam’s Philosophy and Mesorah 0

The Rambam’s Philosophy and Mesorah

The argument over whether the Rambam’s philosophy had a place in Jewish Thought didn’t end in 1306 when the Maimonidian Controversies (that began in his lifetime) died down. Even to this day, in many...

Don’t Forget Daf Alef! 0

Don’t Forget Daf Alef!

A thought that I had amidst all the talk about the start of Daf Yomi Cycle #13… But first: Mazal Tov to all the mesaymim! There has been much talk lately about one of...

Things to Thank the Maccabees For 0

Things to Thank the Maccabees For

Over the years that I’ve been blogging, I noticed a number of ways in which Jewish and Hellenic thought differ. Not just difference of philosophy — differences even more fundamental than philosophy. Ideas that...