by R. Yitzchak Blau
Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits was an important mid twentieth century Jewish thinker who worked in the rabbinate in Leeds, Sydney, Boston, and Chicago. In this essay from the Fall 1962 issue , he explores the question of secular studies and Judaism. Unlike many other Modern Orthodox essays on this topic, this article focuses more on the need for the sciences. Given the modern gift of the state of Israel R. Berkovits wonders how one could possibly run a modern state without adequate knowledge of commerce, industry, defense, etc. The article has interesting applications of sources from Rashba, Rambam, Maharal and others. It also addresses the challenge of advancing an integrated world view, including both Torah and secular knowledge, and uses R. Saadia Gaon’s epistemology as an example.