Journal

Afterword

by Gil Student Jewish tradition changes but only in order to remain the same. Unlike a liberal approach to religious practice, which freely adapts the past to contemporary sensibilities, a conservative approach—which I believe Orthodox Judaism demands—strives to preserve the past by judiciously applying it to the present. The Rambam boldly claims that the Torah’s laws do not fit every ...

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Closing Thoughts: Masorah In America

by J. David Bleich This essay is excerpted with permission from the introduction to Contemporary Halakhic Problems volume 7, forthcoming from Maggid.   The quintessence of Judaism is a sense of masorah, transmission from generation to generation. Fundamentally, that masorah is the corpus of the revealed Halakhah received at Sinai, passed on from generation to generation, father to son, teacher ...

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How Bat Mitzvah Became Orthodox

by Zev Eleff and Menachem Butler In 1972, Kehilath Jeshurun in New York announced the formation of a new synagogue ritual. On December 16, the Upper East Side congregation held a program on Saturday afternoon to “honor four young ladies from our congregational family who have recently reached their twelfth birthday and who are, therefore, recognized by the Jewish community ...

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The Role and Challenges of Minhag in the 21st Century

by David Brofsky The Role and Challenges of Minhag in the 21st Century1 Introduction Throughout the ages, the religious identity and spiritual experiences of a Jewish community were shaped not only by its adherence to halakhic practice, but also by layers of communal and halakhic customs. Individuals, families, communities, and later, entire geographical regions developed all sorts of customs, some ...

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Masorah: A Philosophical User’s Guide

by Alex S. Ozar Masorah: A Philosophical User’s Guide The charge presented to me for this symposium was to discuss the concept of Masorah “from the perspective of philosophy.” At first I was skeptical: Is not the concept an inherently halakhic, historical, and theological one, such that would be more fruitfully engaged through a specifically halakhic, historical, or theological lens? ...

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Symposium on Masorah: Introduction

by R. Gil Student [A condensed version of this introduction appeared in some newspapers this week.] I. The Importance of Masorah The concept of tradition evokes powerful emotions in religious debates. While less orthodox religious streams give tradition a vote, but not a veto, the more conservative segments give it a veto in many circumstances.1 In the latest debates over ...

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Tricking a Cheater

by R. Daniel Mann Question: If someone asks me for an answer during a test, can I tell him the wrong answer? (Response to follow-up question – I prefer not to refuse either to not suffer socially or so the cheater gets what he deserves.) Answer: Cheating on a test is an example of geneivat da’at (deception) (Igrot Moshe, Choshen ...

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In Memory of Rav Lichtenstein

Divrei Hesped in Memory of HaGaon HaRav Aharon Lichtenstein zt’l מו”ר הגאון הצדיק הר”ר אהרן ליכטנשטיין, זצ”ל   On the Occasion of His First Yahrtzeit by R. Michael Taubes It is with a great sense of trepidation and personal inadequacy that one approaches a distinguished ציבור for the purpose of being מספיד one’s Rebbe. In general, it is exceedingly difficult ...

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