From the Archives of Tradition

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tradition-cabinetby R. Yitzchak Blau

The most widely discussed article in the last thirty years of Tradition might be Dr. Haym Soloveitchik’s “Rupture and Reconstruction.”   Dr. Solovetchik’s justifiably famous essay explores Orthodoxy’s move towards greater chumrot in halakhic observance and the shift from a mimetic tradition in which people imbibe halakhic practice in the home and the community to a book tradition in which traditional literature becomes the guide to communal norms.   How does the acculturation of Orthodox Jewry in the twentieth century Western world account for these changes?  What is the difference between a traditional society and an orthodox society?

Beyond the thesis outlined above, the essay includes many fascinating sections:   1) The claim that modern Jews’ attitude to physicality differs from that of their predecessors (pages 80-81).  2) A discussion of the nature of history books produced by the charedi world (84-85). 3) An exploration of why yeshiva education has become more central to Jewish identity (87-93).  4) An examination of the shift in authority from community rabbis to Roshei Yeshiva and the reason why the doctrine of Daas Torah became popular (94-98).  5)  The claim that contemporary Jewry (including charedim) have lost the palpable sense of the divine presence (98-103).  6) An analysis of the differences between the Mishnah Berurah and the Arukh Hashulkhan (footnotes 6 and 20).

Enjoy!     link (PDF)

About Yitzchak Blau

Rabbi Yitzchak Blau is Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshivat Orayta and also teaches at Midreshet Lindenbaum. He is the author of Fresh Fruit and Vintage Wine: The Ethics and Wisdom of the Aggada and an Associate Editor of Tradition.

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