Author Archives: Micha Berger

Rabbi Micha Berger founded the AishDas Society and hosts one of the internet's longest-running active Torah e-mail lists Avodah and its broader discussion area Areivim. He recently published Widen Your Tent: Thoughts on Life, Integrity & Joy.

Rupture and Reconstruction at 25 Years

by R. Micha Berger Twenty five years ago, Rabbi Dr. Haym Soloveitchik published “Rupture and Reconstruction: The Transformation of Contemporary Orthodoxy” in Tradition Magazine. [1]Tradition, Vol. 28, No. 4 (Summer 1994), pp. 64-130. Available at http://traditionarchive.org/news/originals/Volume%2028/No.%204/Repture%20And.pdf, and in HTML form at … Continue reading The paper quickly became the topic of much conversation within the Orthodox community, including being cited in ...

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What Does Masorah Mean?

by R. Micha Berger I The word “masorah” is overloaded with too many meanings. Literally, it’s “that which was passed on”. So logically, a common usage would make it synonymous with Oral Torah. And yet, it’s also used for the near opposite – we speak of the masoretic text, its vowels and its trope – the ultimate in the Bible, ...

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Tools and Goals

by Micha Berger The chorus of a song we used to sing in my day, decades ago, in NCSY began: Torah and mitzvos, these are our goals Serving Hashem to strengthen our souls… If we truly thought Torah and mitzvos are our goals, then we wouldn’t be looking beyond them to suggest we “serv[e] Hashem to…” something.[1. I don’t intend ...

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Rav Wolbe’s World: Building Affection

In the first installment, R. Wolbe described the world of Torah as a World of Yedidus (affection, closeness). Halakhah gives us a set of tools. Mussar and the “Torah of the Heart” show us how to use those tools to develop personal relationships with God, other people, and an internal bond with own souls that are characterized by that yedidus. ...

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Rav Wolbe’s Worldview: Affection

Rav Shlomo Wolbe was a transitional figure in Jewish thought, presenting pre-Holocaust yeshiva mussar to students steeped in modern Charedi idiom. A German-born, university-educated ba’al teshuvah, he studied in one of the premier East European yeshivas and became a Mussar devotee, eventually marrying the daughter of R. Avraham Grodzinski, the martyred mashgiach of the famous Slobodka yeshiva. Until his passing ...

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