Job’s Children

From the April 2018 Print Edition

In S. Y. Agnon’s 1939 novel A Guest for the Night, one of the protagonists, Daniel Bach, recounts his loss of faith. Throughout World War I, as a soldier in the trenches, he had been meticulous about donning his tefillin to recite his daily prayers. Until one morning, the tefillin . . . . Continue Reading »

Not Power But Glory

From the March 2018 Print Edition

Jews and Christians alike pledge a higher loyalty that they honor in ways that seem incomprehensible to the world.” So writes Fr. Romanus Cessario in “Non Possumus” (February). As an example of such incomprehensible devotion, he cites the kidnapping of the child Edgardo Mortara in 1858. The . . . . Continue Reading »

What Manner of Adult?

From the January 2018 Print Edition

One of the few things liberal and conservative educators agree on these days is that college students are too fragile. Many of them are intellectually and emotionally unable to engage ideas uncongenial to them. Many are incapable of accepting honest assessments of their academic performance. They . . . . Continue Reading »

Observe His Prayer

From the Aug/Sept 2017 Print Edition

At the outset of Moby Dick, Father Mapple preaches to a congregation of whalers. His text is the Book of Jonah, and it stands out as one of the most enjoyable fictional sermons of all time. After God has assigned him the task of preaching repentance to the city of Nineveh, Jonah flees “with . . . . Continue Reading »

Babel and Brexit

From the June/July 2017 Print Edition

Why did God disperse the men who built the Tower of Babel? The ancient rabbinic texts uncovered several vices that justified their punishment: A tower intended to reach heaven manifests the ambition to challenge God, the desire to “make for ourselves a name” expresses the sin of pride, and so . . . . Continue Reading »

Look at Their Democracy

From the May 2017 Print Edition

In the three centuries since the prince-elector of Hanover became George I of Great Britain, few power brokers have been more detached from the populace they affected than Rabbi Menachem Shach (1898–2001). Born and bred in Lithuania, where he devoted himself to Talmudic study with some of the . . . . Continue Reading »