Perfect Harmony

From the December 2010 Print Edition

Rabbi Akiva taught that all the Bible’s songs are holy, and Song of Songs is the holy of holies. I have always understood this to mean that Song of Songs corresponds to the inner sanctum of the Temple in Jerusalem, where only the high priest entered on the Day of Atonement. Holiness is . . . . Continue Reading »

The Genesis of Genesis

From the April 2010 Print Edition

Covenant and Conversation: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible Volume One: Genesis by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Maggid, 356 pages, $24.95 Jews recite the Torah, the five books of Moses, in an annual cycle, and they often identify a biblical passage by the week ( parasha ) in which it’s read . . . . Continue Reading »

Seven (or Eight) Deadly Sins

From Web Exclusives

In recent decades, the familiar list of seven deadly sins drawn up by the Church has become attractive to writers who wish to combine personal glimpses with sociological and moral insight; I think Henry Fairlie of The New Republic was the first modern journalist to try his hand at the genre. Why this rubric has become fashionable is a question in itself. Seven Deadly Sins: A Very Partial List is Aviad Kleinberg’s current entry… . Continue Reading »

The Teacher Of Morality At Harwich Beach

From Web Exclusives

Young Sam Johnson once balked when his father asked him to attend to his bookstall. “Pride was the source of that refusal, and the remembrance of it was painful,” he later recalled. On the fiftieth anniversary of the offense Johnson returned to the Uttoxeter-market and stood for an hour bareheaded in the pouring rain. What do you, modern Orthodox reader, make of this scene of remorse and expiation? … Continue Reading »

The Beginning of Wisdom

From the Aug/Sept 2009 Print Edition

And from There You Shall Seek by Joseph Soloveitchik Ktav, 230 pages, $29.50 Near the end of Courage to Be , Paul Tillich writes: “God as a subject makes me into an object which is nothing more than an object. He deprives me of my subjectivity because he is all-powerful and all-knowing. I . . . . Continue Reading »

Orthodoxy and Reticence

From the February 2005 Print Edition

It has been forty years since my revered teacher Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, popularly known as “the Rav” by his followers in the modern wing of American Orthodoxy, presented his paper “Confrontation” to the Rabbinical Council of America. The paper was later published in the Council’s . . . . Continue Reading »