Jewish Ideas Daily
May 15, 2012
Lawrence Grossman of the American Jewish Committee sparks an thoughtful debate about the relevance of Orthodox Judaism when even some of its adherants are perplexed.
For his part, Grossman mounts a pithy assault on one book that argues against the divine inspiration of Torah, and another that defends Orthodoxy yet tries to frame Orthodoxy in the cast of modern spirituality.
In the end, Grossman poses a question: if, in fact, Torah is not from a divine source, and thus the justification for the mitzvot weak, why does Orthodox Judaism remain so “vibrant and successful?”
Read the article, but read it as you would attend a shiur: in other words, read the comments as well. They are in many respects the best part.
Jewish studies flourish in China
David N. Myers
The Jewish Journal
August 15, 2012
A fascinating look at the growing field of Jewish studies in China, and the author’s experience lecturing at the Glazer Institute of Jewish Studies in the ancient capital city of Kaifeng.
My favorite quote:
The Confucian ideal, parallel to the Jewish precept of “kevod ha-moreh,” is alive and well today. Unlike the consumerist approach to education in the United States, where students demand attractively presented products from their teachers, students in China feel happy to receive the pearls of wisdom that issue from their teachers’ mouths. At times, this leads to a certain passivity in the classroom on the students’ part. But the overall effect, especially for a short-term visitor from America, is wondrous.
Of course, the degree of open Talmudic discourse between teacher and students is missing in China, and that needs to change. Nonetheless, the point about the American “consumerist” approach to education is spot-on.
Judaism, Torah, Jews | Partners in Torah.
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Carol Off: Why Sarajevo could lose a 660-year-old Jewish prayer book – World – CBC News.
A fantastic story, well worth the read, for three reasons:
1. It’s Pesach soon;
2. It shows that not all Muslims are pathological anti-Semites; and
3. It is a reminder that we need to defend even the smallest relics of our heritage.
This one really got to me:
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom
Let not the mighty man glory in his might
Let not the rich man glory in his riches
But one should only glory in this:
That he understands and knows Me,
that I am the Lord,
Who exercises mercy, justice, and righteousness on the earth.
For in these I delight, says the Lord.”
Drawn from a much lengthier prayer formed by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, The Chofetz Chaim, and prepared by the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva Rav Yehuda Zev Segal, zt”l, is a prayer for all of us, but especially those of us who take pen or keyboard in hand each day to post our thoughts online.
Master of the Universe, may it be Your will, Compassionate and Gracious G-d, that You grant me the merit today and every day to guard my mouth and tongue from speaking loshon hora and rechilus. And may I be zealous not to speak ill even of an individual, and certainly not of the entire Jewish people or a portion of it; and even more so, may I be zealous not to complain about the ways of the Holy One, Blessed is He. May I be zealous not to speak words of falsehood, flattery, strife, anger, arrogance, hurt, embarrassment, mockery, and all other forbidden forms of speech. Grant me the merit to speak only that which is necessary for my physical and spiritual well-being, and may all my deeds and words be for the sake of Heaven.
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It demands no great mind of science to deconstruct faith. It requires no saint to enumerate the shortcomings of science.
The truly brilliant will find in Faith a questing of a kind different from – but no less legitimate than – the Method.
And the truly Holy will see in science a new way to know the hand of G-d.
The great minds and the great souls will forge a path of tolerance, of mutual respect, of unity, for tey will apprehend a truth, a shared quest, and the complementarity of their journeys of discovery.