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Tragic Hero

From the November 2014 Print Edition

 Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul  by daniel gordis ?schocken, 295 pages, $27.95 In 1981, at the height of his last tumultuous campaign, ­Menachem Begin was accused of bombing the Iraqi nuclear reactor for electoral advantage. ­Begin reacted with outrage: “You have known . . . . Continue Reading »

Sinai's Universalism

From the January 2014 Print Edition

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks derives two messages from Jeremiah 29. One is that Jewish life may continue, even flourish, in the adverse soil of exile: “Build homes and dwell in them, take wives and have children.” For Jews, spiritual purpose survives the loss of power, when the prosperity and fullness . . . . Continue Reading »

Love’s Scandal

From the December 2013 Print Edition

God’s Kindness Has Overwhelmed Us: A Contemporary Doctrine of the Jews as the Chosen People by jerome (yehudah) gellman academic studies, 120 pages, $59 As German-Jewish philosopher Franz ­Rosenzweig observed a hundred years ago, Jewish chosenness is not one of the thirteen principles of . . . . Continue Reading »

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 synonymous . . . . 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 »