Tradition Journal

Tradition Journal Tradition is the Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought published quarterly since 1958 by the Rabbinical Council of America

Tradition’s Fall 2019 issue has arrived featuring our long-awaited symposium on the 25th anniversary of Prof. Haym Sol...
11/10/2019

Tradition’s Fall 2019 issue has arrived featuring our long-awaited symposium on the 25th anniversary of Prof. Haym Soloveitchik’s “Rupture and Reconstruction: The Transformation of Contemporary Orthodoxy.” Subscribers can access the whole issue online (while they await the arrival of the print edition in their mailboxes in the coming days), all others can sample a few of the 17 essays now (maybe it’s time to get your print and/or digital subscription already?). Also in this issue: Rabbi J. David Bleich brings us the first of three installments in a special series on “The Validity of DNA Evidence for Halakhic Purposes,” Hayyim Angel explores the intersection of literary analysis of Tanakh and Yirat Shamayim, and more.
https://traditiononline.org/latest-issues/

Sgn-up for TRADITION's monthly email newsletter to stay updated on what's happening in the journal, on the website, and ...
11/08/2019

Sgn-up for TRADITION's monthly email newsletter to stay updated on what's happening in the journal, on the website, and to receive advance access to upcoming content...
https://traditiononline.org/newsletter/

In 1981 Rav Aharon Lichtenstein zt"l articulated one of the most significant statements in the philosophy of Religious Z...
11/05/2019
Looking Backward: The Ideology of Hesder

In 1981 Rav Aharon Lichtenstein zt"l articulated one of the most significant statements in the philosophy of Religious Zionism in his TRADITION essay "The Ideology of Hesder." In that piece, he makes a forceful argument for the moral necessity for yeshiva students to serve in the IDF.
Much has changed in the nearly 40 years since we published the essay -- changes in Israeli society, in the makeup and dynamic of the hesder yeshivot themselves, and in the options that young men (and women) have for their own Torah study and national service. Rabbi Yossef Slotnik considers the enduring relevance of R. Lichtenstein's essays and asks how contemporary reality requires a reevaluation of "The Ideology of Hesder."

Looking BackwardThe Ideology of Hesder TodayYossef Slotnik[“Looking Backward” is an occasional feature on TraditionOnline.org in which we ask our authors or readers re-explore classic essays from our pages and their ongoing contributions to religious thought.] In a seminal paper, “T

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik identified the “patriarch Abraham as the first and ostensibly typical Jewish person,” c...
11/03/2019

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik identified the “patriarch Abraham as the first and ostensibly typical Jewish person,” claims Professor Gerald Blidstein. “He was fascinated by Abraham’s independence, elan, verve – and, surprisingly, restlessness. Perhaps the older Rav recognized Abraham in himself as a young lad.”
Prepare for Parashat Lekh-Lekha and the advent of Avraham with Blidstein’s essay from our archives, “Rabbi Soloveitchik’s Abraham” (TRADITION, Winter 2015).
https://traditiononline.org/rabbi-soloveitchiks-abraham/

Coming soon! TRADITION 51:4 (Fall 2019), containing 17 essays revisiting "Rupture and Reconstruction," Rav J. David Blei...
10/30/2019

Coming soon! TRADITION 51:4 (Fall 2019), containing 17 essays revisiting "Rupture and Reconstruction," Rav J. David Bleich launches a 3-part series on DNA evidence in halakha, book reviews, and more.
SUBSCRIBE NOW https://traditiononline.org/subscribe-now/

In 1961, on the pages of TRADITION, a young lawyer speculated about the potential of Jewish law to help shape the judici...
10/28/2019
Looking Backward: Halakha and Homeland Redux

In 1961, on the pages of TRADITION, a young lawyer speculated about the potential of Jewish law to help shape the judicial system of the young State of Israel. The so-called Mishpat Ivri movement anticipated a "larger work which will more convincingly advance the cause of the acceptance of the Halakha in the State of Israel – a sort of return of the native son to its homeland." Now, nearly 6 decades later, Lawrence Kobrin reexamines his predictions and reassesses the contemporary reality.
https://traditiononline.org/looking-backward-halakha-and-homeland-redux/

Looking BackwardHalakha and Homeland ReduxLawrence A. Kobrin[“Looking Backward” is an occasional feature on TraditionOnline.org in which we ask authors to reflect on their contributions to the pages of Tradition from years ago, or in which we re-explore classic essays and their ongoing c

A different approach to resolving tensions between Biblical passages? David Curwin reviews a collection of new Hebrew es...
10/23/2019
Review: Approaching Transition

A different approach to resolving tensions between Biblical passages? David Curwin reviews a collection of new Hebrew essays on the "Temurot" method of Tanakh study...

Gishat HaTemurot [Hebrew], edited by Hezi Cohen and Aviad Evron (Maggid Books, 2019), 288 pagesReviewed by David CurwinIn the decades following the onset of modern biblical criticism, and its acceptance in academic circles, the two main approaches of Orthodox thinkers were either to challenge

In this new episode of the TRADITION podcast, editor Jeffrey Saks chats with Atara Eis and Laurie Novick about their ess...
10/17/2019
Podcast: Reconstruction in No Man’s Land

In this new episode of the TRADITION podcast, editor Jeffrey Saks chats with Atara Eis and Laurie Novick about their essay “Reconstruction in No Man’s Land.” Eis and Novick are both certified Yoetzot Halacha, and wrote as part of our upcoming symposium marking the 25th anniversary of Prof. Haym Soloveitchik’s landmark essay “Rupture and Reconstruction: The Transformation of Contemporary Orthodoxy,” considering its enduring relevance for women’s way of Torah study and halakhic observance. Look for the symposium in our upcoming Fall 2019 issue.

In this new episode of the TRADITION podcast, editor Jeffrey Saks chats with Atara Eis and Laurie Novick about their essay "Reconstruction in No Man's Land." Eis and Novick are both certified Yoetzot Halacha, and wrote as part of our upcoming symposium marking the 25th anniversary of Prof. Haym Solo

"We conceive of the world and its meaning through human eyes – valuing the life of every single person. It was a singl...
09/27/2019
“TODAY IS THE BIRTHDAY OF THE (WARMING) WORLD”

"We conceive of the world and its meaning through human eyes – valuing the life of every single person. It was a single person who received the command to work and guard the Earth. If we are to motivate one another to work for the good of our planet, it will be by valuing the human and not degrading it," writes TRADITION's associate editor Rabbi Chaim Strauchler, in a special message for Rosh Hashana.

“TODAY IS THE BIRTHDAY OF THE (WARMING) WORLD”Chaim StrauchlerToday, the average temperature of the Earth’s climate is rising. Though earlier epochs also experienced warming, the continuing increase in average air and ocean temperatures since 1900 has rightfully called attention to climate

TRADITIONonline has been featured the "BEST" that has been "thought and said" -- a sampling of spiritually beneficial cu...
09/26/2019
The BEST: “The Life of Samuel Johnson” by James Boswell

TRADITIONonline has been featured the "BEST" that has been "thought and said" -- a sampling of spiritually beneficial culture from pop to high. Last week discussed Samuel L. Jackson, this week Samuel Johnson. That's quite a reach...

The BEST: “The Life of Samuel Johnson” by James BoswellConsumption Time: ~54 hours Summary: Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was an eighteenth-century poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor, and lexicographer. In his time, he was best known for A Dictionary of th

The scandalous reports of grotesque and criminal cases of child pornography in two of our community’s flagship educati...
09/22/2019
Discussing and Reporting Abuse

The scandalous reports of grotesque and criminal cases of child pornography in two of our community’s flagship educational institutions are tragic and shocking. It is a sadly appropriate moment to remember our individual and collective responsibilities to root out all forms abuse in our midst, as outlined in Rabbi David Brofsky’s “Discussing and Reporting Abuse – A Halakhic Perspective” (TRADITION, Summer 2017).

The scandalous reports of grotesque and criminal cases of child pornography in two of our community’s flagship educational institutions are tragic and shocking. It is a sadly appropriate moment to remember our individual and collective responsibilities to root out all forms abuse in our midst, as

A veteran male educator writes about "Women's Changing Self-Perception" -- do women educators perceive that self-percept...
09/18/2019
A “Changing Self-Perception” of One’s Own: Responses to Dr. Wolowelsky

A veteran male educator writes about "Women's Changing Self-Perception" -- do women educators perceive that self-perception slightly differently themselves? Sarah Davis Rudolph and Anne Gordon respond to Joel Wolowelsky.

Photo: Michlelet Bruria, Jerusalem (1983)Sarah RudolphFor the most part, I agree with Dr. Joel Wolowelsky’s observations in “Looking Backward: Women’s Changing Self-Perception.” Obviously, a short essay could not hope to fully address all the issues Dr. Wolowelsky raised, and I’m sure

Carpe diem!Rabbi Alex Israel explores the spiritual lessons of the film Dead Poets Society -- especially for educators -...
09/16/2019
The BEST: Dead Poets Society

Carpe diem!
Rabbi Alex Israel explores the spiritual lessons of the film Dead Poets Society -- especially for educators -- in TraditionOnline's ongoing series "The BEST," surveying exemplars of the best culture has to offer thinking religious people.
https://traditiononline.org/the-best-dead-poets-society/

The BEST: Dead Poets SocietyAlex Israel – alexisrael.org Summary: Set in 1959 at an elite boarding school, the movie tells of a young poetry teacher, Mr. John Keating, who inspires his students to challenge convention and to seek their own individuality, passions and creativity. However, rom

New and Noteworthy Books Received - Princeton University Press Stu Halpern Toby Press Jonathan Silver Rabbi Meir Solovei...
09/11/2019

New and Noteworthy Books Received - Princeton University Press Stu Halpern Toby Press Jonathan Silver Rabbi Meir Soloveichik The Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought of Yeshiva University Charles Sheer Academic Studies Press Mosaica Press Ilana Pardes Shmuli Phillips
Read more here: https://traditiononline.org/new-and-noteworthy-books-received-2/

Tradition Journal applauds the work of our publisher The Rabbinical Council of America - RCA for its ongoing holy work i...
09/05/2019
I Support the Halachic Prenuptial Agreement – Rabbinical Council of America

Tradition Journal applauds the work of our publisher The Rabbinical Council of America - RCA for its ongoing holy work in promoting the Halakhic Prenuptial Agreement -- the most effective preventative to the Agunah crisis.
Read Rachel Levmore's TRADITION article about rabbinic responses in favor of the Prenup: https://traditiononline.org/rabbinic-responses-in-favor-of-prenuptial-agreements/
See more info at the RCA website: https://rabbis.org/i-support-the-use-of-a-halachic-prenuptial-agreement/

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Tonight and tomorrow, 3 Elul (September 3), marks the 84th yahrzeit of the sainted Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook zt"l...
09/02/2019

Tonight and tomorrow, 3 Elul (September 3), marks the 84th yahrzeit of the sainted Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook zt"l. Read some of the articles TRADITION has published over the years exploring Rav Kook's thought and Torah.
https://traditiononline.org/archives/?_sf_s=kook&_sf_ppp=70

Dr. Joel B. Wolowelsky has been exploring topics related to women's Torah study and role in Jewish leadership for many d...
08/29/2019
Looking Backward: Women’s Changing Self-Perception

Dr. Joel B. Wolowelsky has been exploring topics related to women's Torah study and role in Jewish leadership for many decades. In this "Looking Backward" column he revisits a 1986 essay he wrote in the pages of TRADITION about women's own changing self-perception, and candidly shares with us his assessment of how issues in women's education have evolved and in what ways he may have been overconfident about the state of things 30+ years ago.

Looking Backward: Women’s Changing Self-PerceptionJoel B. Wolowelsky[“Looking Backward” is an occasional feature on TraditionOnline.org in which we ask authors to reflect on their contributions to the pages of TRADITION from years ago, or in which we re-explore classic essays and their ong

"While it may be well and good for those who have been 'chosen' to read about how they are the recipients of special Div...
08/26/2019
Chosenness as a Pedagogical Disturbance

"While it may be well and good for those who have been 'chosen' to read about how they are the recipients of special Divine attention," writes Rabbi Jack Bieler, "I have deeply wondered how, in light of innumerable biblical verses, non-Jews are expected to comprehend their being excluded from God’s concern, as well as how Jews relate to others when they believe that they have come in for God’s special consideration." Read Rabbi Bieler's response to Dr. Erica Brown's recent TRADITION essay on "Pedagogical Disturbances."

As a long-time teacher of Judaic studies who has tended to emphasize the moral vectors in the material that I present, I read Erica Brown’s essay, “Pedagogic Disturbances in the Jewish Adult Classroom: The Teaching and Learning of Morally Problematic Biblical Texts” (TRADITION 51:3, Summer 201

Tomorrow, the 18th of Av, will mark 90 years since the Hebron Massacre of 1929, part of a wave of riots that swept the J...
08/18/2019

Tomorrow, the 18th of Av, will mark 90 years since the Hebron Massacre of 1929, part of a wave of riots that swept the Jewish yishuv in Eretz Yisrael. On that fateful Shabbat, 67 unarmed Jews were murdered by frenzied Arab mobs. Among those martyrs were 26 students of Hebron’s Yeshivat Knesset Yisrael. That institution had been established in 1924 as a branch of the famed Slabodka Yeshiva, located just outside of Kovna, Lithuania.
Among the victims at the Hebron Yeshiva was a brilliant young American student, Aharon Dovid (Dave) Shainberg, hy”d. Read Rabbi Akiva Males’ recent TRADITION article which includes Shainberg’s letters from Eretz Yisrael to his family in Tennessee: “When a Memphian Thrived in Hebron: The Letters of Aharon Dovid Shainberg”
https://traditiononline.org/a-memphian-in-hebron-90-years-since-the-1929-massacre/

“Zealous to continue traditional Judaism unimpaired, [today’s] religious Jews seek to ground their new emerging spir...
08/12/2019

“Zealous to continue traditional Judaism unimpaired, [today’s] religious Jews seek to ground their new emerging spirituality less on a now unattainable intimacy with Him, than on an intimacy with His Will [… .] Having lost the touch of His presence, they seek now solace in the pressure of His yoke,” wrote Prof. Haym Soloveitchik in concluding his now-classic essay, “Rupture and Reconstruction: The Transformation of Contemporary Orthodoxy" (TRADITION, Summer 1994), which appeared in our pages exactly 25 years ago.

To mark the half-Jubilee of this landmark essay TRADITION will run a symposium in our forthcoming Fall 2019 issue. In the meantime, now’s the time to re-read “Rupture or Reconstruction” (or encounter it for the first time), to consider how it has served as a lens through which contemporary Orthodoxy has viewed itself this past quarter-century. Download it from our archives here: https://traditiononline.org/rupture-and-reconstruction-the-transformation-of-contemporary-orthodoxy/

Contributors to the symposium will include: Nechama Goldman Barash, Gedalyah Berger, Atara Eis & Laurie Novick, Adam Ferziger, Elli Fischer, Efrem Goldberg, Michael Harris, Lawrence Kobrin, Daniel N Korobkin, Ilana Kurshan, Elazar Muskin, Yehoshua Pfeffer, Sarah Rindner Blum, Chaim Saiman, Rivka Press Schwartz, Chaim Strauchler, and Heshy Zelcer.

"Deuteronomy is the last act of the Jewish people’s drama before becoming a nation in its own land, and it forms the c...
08/06/2019

"Deuteronomy is the last act of the Jewish people’s drama before becoming a nation in its own land, and it forms the context of all that follows. It is the deepest and most remarkable statement of what Judaism is about, and it is no less relevant today than it was in Biblical times. If anything, it is more so," writes Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in the most recent issue of TRADITION.
As we prepare to read Sefer Devarim this Shabbat read Rabbi Sacks' essay "Deuteronomy: Covenant Society" -- free access at our website https://traditiononline.org/deuteronomy-covenant-society/

Tradition Journal and The Rabbinical Council of America - RCA thank our supporters who enable the dissemination of our j...
08/04/2019

Tradition Journal and The Rabbinical Council of America - RCA thank our supporters who enable the dissemination of our journal to ever widening circles. Contact us to join the Society of Tradition Fellows (https://traditiononline.org/contact-us/).

In his inaugural Editor's Column Rabbi Jeffrey Saks outlines his vision for the future of our journal, while acknowledgi...
07/29/2019
Editor’s Note

In his inaugural Editor's Column Rabbi Jeffrey Saks outlines his vision for the future of our journal, while acknowledging that "our name remains TRADITION, an apt title for a journal that has nobly served a community with 'tradition' as its polestar. Ours is a journal of 'excavation and encounter': returning to sources — halakhic, philosophical, cultural — that might be wellsprings for modernity while at the same time adopting a forward-facing attitude as we explore the contours of the world in which we live and the religious future we hope to shape. As a scholarly, but not specifically academic journal, the scholarship we publish — be it 'lishmah,' for its own sake, or more programmatic — will continue to further these aims." Read the column here: https://traditiononline.org/editors-note-2/

 

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