Tradition Journal

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

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The world of Jewish studies is experiencing a "Gershom Scholem Moment” with a slew of books and studies published on the...
01/24/2021
Orthodoxy and the Scholem Moment

The world of Jewish studies is experiencing a "Gershom Scholem Moment” with a slew of books and studies published on the life and legacy of the path-breaking Kabbalah scholar. Zvi Leshem suggests that understanding this phenomenon can help us understand some major trends in contemporary Orthodoxy.
https://traditiononline.org/orthodoxy-and-the-scholem-moment/
Gershom Scholem

The world of Jewish studies is experiencing a “Gershom Scholem Moment” with a slew of books and studies published on the life and legacy of the path-breaking Kabbalah scholar. Zvi Leshem suggests that understanding this phenomenon can help us understand some major trends in contemporary Orthodox

The Israeli viewing public is once again completely obsessed with the TV show Shtisel, depicting the life of an extended...
01/21/2021

The Israeli viewing public is once again completely obsessed with the TV show Shtisel, depicting the life of an extended Haredi family, now in the middle of Season 3. It seems that the Tradition Journal made a cameo appearance in a previous season -- seen here on the bookshelf. It's nice to know that our distinctly Modern Orthodox journal of Jewish thought has made its way to Meah Shearim! נו נו חסדי ה' בהחלט מעניין
“Shtisel” - Let’s Talk About It שטיסל שטיסל עם כל הלומדעס וכו'

Daniel Rynhold shows how R. Sacks identified collective structures such as religious traditions as that which creates so...
01/21/2021
The BEST: Language, Truth and Logic

Daniel Rynhold shows how R. Sacks identified collective structures such as religious traditions as that which creates social meanings giving reasons to pursue one course over another. In doing so R. Sacks restores the link between ethics and reason, reading against a classic essay by philosopher A.J. Ayer – This week in “The Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project."
https://traditiononline.org/the-best-language-truth-and-logic/

Daniel Rynhold shows how R. Sacks identified collective structures such as religious traditions as that which creates social meanings giving reasons to pursue course over another. In doing so R. Sacks restores the link between ethics and reason, reading against a classic essay by philosopher A.J. Ay

Daniel Friedman and Chaim Strauchler discuss Richard Niebuhr’s classical essay, "The Idea of Covenant in American Democr...
01/20/2021
PODCAST: Covenantal Community

Daniel Friedman and Chaim Strauchler discuss Richard Niebuhr’s classical essay, "The Idea of Covenant in American Democracy,” asking what it implies for the universal value of civil society, and consider ts particular resonance for the current political moment as filtered through the writings of Rabbi Sacks.
https://traditiononline.org/podcast-covenantal-community/

Daniel Friedman and Chaim Strauchler discuss Richard Niebuhr’s classical essay, "The Idea of Covenant in American Democracy,” asking what it implies for the universal value of civil society, and consider ts particular resonance for the current political moment as filtered through the writings of

With the arrival of our most recent issue, TRADITION’s Summer 2020 issue is now open access. Issue highlights: Mark Drat...
01/18/2021
Summer 2020 Open Access

With the arrival of our most recent issue, TRADITION’s Summer 2020 issue is now open access. Issue highlights: Mark Dratch eulogizes R. Norman Lamm; Joseph Dweck on “Rupture and Reconstruction” from the (overlooked) Sephardic perspective; Tonya Mittelman on her father, R. Aharon Lichtenstein, and women in the world of Torah study; Rav Shagar on two types of Anava; book reviews of new Maimonides scholarship, Shabbatai Zevi in modern Hebrew fiction, and more.
https://traditiononline.org/summer-2020-open-access/
The issue also contains a 70-page essay concluding J. David Bleich’s series on the validity of DNA evidence in Jewish law.

With the arrival of our most recent issue, TRADITION’s Summer 2020 issue is now open access. 

R. Reuven Bulka has been an erudite and compassionate spokesman for Jewish values and learning throughout his long caree...
01/17/2021
Worldwide virtual prayer rally to be held for 'Canada's rabbi' after cancer diagnosis

R. Reuven Bulka has been an erudite and compassionate spokesman for Jewish values and learning throughout his long career, and has served as a TRADITION board member for decades.
He is in need of our prayers at the moment -- read about his struggle and the outpouring of respect and affection throughout Canada:
https://www.kamloopsthisweek.com/news/worldwide-virtual-prayer-rally-to-be-held-for-canada-s-rabbi-after-cancer-diagnosis-1.24268602
Read some of his scholarship published in our pages over the past 50 years (link in first comment below).
(Congregation Machzikei Hadas)

OTTAWA, Ill. — For a man who has devoted his life to promoting kindness, a diagnosis of advanced-stage cancer in his pancreas and liver might seem the unkindest cut of all. But Rabbi Reuven Bulka, . . .

TRADITION was sorry to hear of the passing of R. Israel Wohlgelernter, rabbi of the Sixteenth Street Synagogue. Read his...
01/17/2021

TRADITION was sorry to hear of the passing of R. Israel Wohlgelernter, rabbi of the Sixteenth Street Synagogue. Read his profile of Rabbi Isaac Breuer, published in our pages in 1992, based upon a lecture at the inauguration of Yeshiva University's Isaac Breuer College, where he served as a longtime, beloved instructor: https://traditiononline.org/isaac-breuer/

Rabbi Daniel Friedman writes for TraditionOnline's Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project on H. Richard Niebuhr's "The Idea of ...
01/14/2021
The BEST: “The Idea of Covenant in American Democracy”

Rabbi Daniel Friedman writes for TraditionOnline's Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project on H. Richard Niebuhr's "The Idea of Covenant in American Democracy" -- relevant in light of recent events:
Niebuhr proffered the theory of America as a covenantal community. In contrast with a contractual society, which is based on transactions of mutual convenience, the covenantal model is built on trust and the unspoken voluntary promise on the part of each member of the covenant that every decision one makes will be in the interests of enhancing the greater good.
https://traditiononline.org/the-best-the-idea-of-covenant-in-american-democracy/

Daniel Friedman reads H. Richard Niebuhr’s classical essay, asking what it implies for the universal value of civil society – a new entry in the R. Sacks Bookshelves Project, presented in cooperation with the London School of Jewish Studies.

David Curwin suggests the recent dustup around the use of “Amen and A-women” can teach us a thing or two about the Hebre...
01/13/2021
Amen and A-Women

David Curwin suggests the recent dustup around the use of “Amen and A-women” can teach us a thing or two about the Hebrew language.
https://traditiononline.org/amen-and-a-women/

David Curwin suggests the recent fury around the use of “Amen and A-women” can teach us a thing or two about Hebrew.

With the goal of honoring TRADITION's founder Rabbi Norman Lamm and his contributions to the spiritual and intellectual ...
01/12/2021
Rabbi Norman Lamm Memorial Volume

With the goal of honoring TRADITION's founder Rabbi Norman Lamm and his contributions to the spiritual and intellectual life of our community and the Jewish world, TRADITION (Summer 2021) will be issued as a special book-length, hard-bound Memorial Volume exploring his literary legacy. The issue, containing over 30 essays by leading figures in the world of Jewish life and ideas, will focus on the wide-ranging areas of R. Lamm’s writing, assessing his lasting contributions to Jewish thought through the prism of his prolific works. To honor R. Lamm’s memory and support the ongoing work of TRADITION and The Rabbinical Council of America - RCA, we invite you to join your name to the Rabbi Norman Memorial Tribute Roll.
https://traditiononline.org/rabbi-dr-norman-lamm-memorial-volume/

Rabbi Norman Lamm Memorial VolumeThis year the Jewish world suffered the loss of Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm zt”l.  Rabbi Lamm was unique in his talents, thought, and creativity, expressed through his many roles: as president of Yeshiva University, congregational rabbi, writer, speaker, and founding

Hayyim Angel reviews Yoel Elitzur's new "Places in the Parsha" (Maggid Books) and shows how the book allows anyone to "l...
01/11/2021
REVIEW: Places in the Parasha

Hayyim Angel reviews Yoel Elitzur's new "Places in the Parsha" (Maggid Books) and shows how the book allows anyone to "le-tayel im a ha-Tanakh" -- even if you're on lockdown and can't leave your home. Bonus content: Download excerpted chapter for this week's parasha.
https://traditiononline.org/review-places-in-the-parasha/

Hayyim Angel reviews Yoel Elitzur's new "Places in the Parsha" and shows how the book allows anyone to "le-tayel im a ha-Tanakh" even if you can't leave your home. Bonus content: Download excerpted chapter for this week's parasha.

As much as the biblical telling of the Israelites’ “long walk to freedom” may have inspired Nelson Mandela, his life and...
01/07/2021
The BEST: Long Walk to Freedom

As much as the biblical telling of the Israelites’ “long walk to freedom” may have inspired Nelson Mandela, his life and accomplishments inspired Jonathan Sacks – Daniel Rose explains in this week’s Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project, presented in cooperation with LSJS - London School of Jewish Studies.
https://traditiononline.org/the-best-long-walk-to-freedom/

As much as the biblical telling of the Israelites’ “long walk to freedom” may have inspired Nelson Mandela, his life and accomplishments inspired Jonathan Sacks – Daniel Rose explains in this week’s R. Sacks Bookshelves Project.

Tradition Journal's cover photo
01/06/2021

Tradition Journal's cover photo

Yoetzet Halacha Laurie Novick begins the work of assessing R. Yehuda Henkin's (zt"l) legacy as a posek, and his impact o...
01/06/2021
Initial Thoughts on R. Henkin as Posek

Yoetzet Halacha Laurie Novick begins the work of assessing R. Yehuda Henkin's (zt"l) legacy as a posek, and his impact on the world of lived halakha -- especially in the realm of taharat ha-mishpaha.
https://traditiononline.org/initial-thoughts-on-r-henkin-as-posek/

Yoetzet Halacha Laurie Novick begins the work of assessing R. Yehuda Henkin's (zt"l) legacy as a posek, and his impact on the world of lived halakha -- especially in the realm of taharat ha-mishpaha.

TRADITION 53:1 (Winter 2021) has arrived with a newly discovered essay from R. Soloveitchik; rethinking decision-making ...
01/04/2021

TRADITION 53:1 (Winter 2021) has arrived with a newly discovered essay from R. Soloveitchik; rethinking decision-making in acute critical illness in a new proposal by Dr. Judah Goldberg, with a rabbinic response from Rabbis Hershel Schachter and Mordechai Willig; Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg on “Love, Holiness, and the Other”; Jack Bieler and David Wolkenfeld on Orthodoxy as it was -- and might have been; and more. View contents here: https://traditiononline.org/tradition-winter-2021-arrives

Stay up to date with the Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project -- weekly columns post every Thursday. In tribute to Rabbi Jona...
12/31/2020

Stay up to date with the Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project -- weekly columns post every Thursday.
In tribute to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ impact on the spiritual and intellectual life of our community, Tradition Journal’s The BEST project is presenting a series of essays dedicated to aspects of his thought and teaching. We have invited our readers and writers to consider what things “out there” in worldly culture make them think and feel. What aspects of western thought and literature inspire us to pursue lives as more fully engaged thinking religious beings?
Read more: https://traditiononline.org/the-best-the-rabbi-sacks-bookshelves/

Jonny Lipczer, writing for the Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project, reads Stephen Carter’s “Civility” and asks about our dis...
12/31/2020
The BEST: Civility

Jonny Lipczer, writing for the Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project, reads Stephen Carter’s “Civility” and asks about our distinctly Jewish responsibilities as citizens of larger society.
https://traditiononline.org/the-best-civility/

Jonny Lipzcer, writing for the R. Sacks Bookshelves Project, reads Stephen Carter’s “Civility” and asks about our distinctly Jewish responsibilities as citizens of larger society.

Our editors highlight new and noteworthy titles in Jewish studies – books about books, and studying them in yeshiva; tit...
12/29/2020
New and Noteworthy Books

Our editors highlight new and noteworthy titles in Jewish studies – books about books, and studying them in yeshiva; titles in Bible on Ezekiel, Esther; Hasidism, history, and more.
https://traditiononline.org/new-and-noteworthy-books/
Princeton University Press Miriam Udel NYU Press New Paradigm Matrix Stu Halpern Maggid Books Tova Ganzel W. W. Norton & Company Keila Rachel Manekin Rabbi Hayyim Angel Kodesh Press Chaim Seidler-Feller Academic Studies Press Ariel Evan Mayse Brandeis University Press Sam Shonkoff

Our editors review new and noteworthy books in Jewish studies – books about books, and studying them in yeshiva; titles in Bible on Ezekiel, Esther; Hasidism, history, and more.

Food writer Joel Haber, reviewing "Feasting and Fasting: The History and Ethics of Jewish Food" (NYU Press) suggests tha...
12/27/2020
REVIEW: Feasting and Fasting

Food writer Joel Haber, reviewing "Feasting and Fasting: The History and Ethics of Jewish Food" (NYU Press) suggests that by studying what Jews eat, with an eye both on kashrut observance and simple lived experience, we develop a greater appreciation for Jewish uniqueness and even a deeper relationship with the religion itself.
https://traditiononline.org/review-feasting-and-fasting/

Food writer Joel Haber suggests that by studying what Jews eat, with an eye both on kashrut observance and simple lived experience, we develop a greater appreciation for Jewish uniqueness and even a deeper relationship with the religion itself.

TRADITION is saddened to learn of the passing of Rav Yehuda Henkin zt"l -- educator, posek, and author of the multi-volu...
12/24/2020

TRADITION is saddened to learn of the passing of Rav Yehuda Henkin zt"l -- educator, posek, and author of the multi-volume Benei Vanim. His lengthy essay "Contemporary Tsniut" appeared in our pages in 2003, and was later expanded to a book-length work. Read it and some of his other writings in our archive: https://traditiononline.org/archives/?_sft_author=yehuda-herzl-henkin-2
תנצב"ה

In the TRADITION Podcast R. Yona Reiss explains the religious obligation to vaccinate against COVID-19 as part of halakh...
12/23/2020
PODCAST: The COVID Vaccine and Halakha

In the TRADITION Podcast R. Yona Reiss explains the religious obligation to vaccinate against COVID-19 as part of halakha’s imperative to be vigilant in preserving and protecting human life.
https://traditiononline.org/podcast-the-covid-vaccine-and-halakha/

In the TRADITION Podcast R. Yona Reiss explains the religious obligation to vaccinate against COVID-19 as part of halakha’s imperative to be vigilant in preserving and protecting human life.

In this week’s Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project, Tamra Aviva Wright considers the implications of a recent trend in behav...
12/17/2020
The BEST: Tiny Habits

In this week’s Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project, Tamra Aviva Wright considers the implications of a recent trend in behavioral science for crafting a “new musar.”
https://traditiononline.org/the-best-tiny-habits/

In this week’s Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project, Tamra Wright considers the implications of a recent trend in behavioral science for crafting a “new musar.”

R. Yona Reiss remembers the late Rav Gedalia Dov Schwartz zt”l as a brilliant and brave spokesman for integrity and huma...
12/16/2020
Our Da’as Torah Figure

R. Yona Reiss remembers the late Rav Gedalia Dov Schwartz zt”l as a brilliant and brave spokesman for integrity and humanity in pesak halakha.
https://traditiononline.org/our-daas-torah-figure/

R. Yona Reiss remembers the late Rav Gedalia Dov Schwartz zt”l as a man brilliant and brave spokesman for integrity and humanity in pesak halakha.

Look heavenward this coming Monday to witness the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Jeremy Brown reports on how various...
12/15/2020
The Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Medieval Jewish Thought

Look heavenward this coming Monday to witness the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Jeremy Brown reports on how various Rishonim understood this astronomical rarity – and hopes it might be a good omen for our pandemic age.
https://traditiononline.org/the-conjunction-of-saturn-and-jupiter-in-medieval-jewish-thought/

Look heavenward this coming Monday to witness the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Jeremy Brown reports on how various Rishonim understood this astronomical rarity – and hopes it might be a good omen for our pandemic age.

In this TRADITION classic from our archives: Prof. Gerald Blidstein z"l offers possible explanations for Hazal’s suppres...
12/13/2020
Hanukka in Hazal

In this TRADITION classic from our archives: Prof. Gerald Blidstein z"l offers possible explanations for Hazal’s suppression of the Jewish Hellenizers in the Hanukka story -- and in a follow-up letter exchange offers important insights about the proper way to read texts.
https://traditiononline.org/hanukka-in-hazal/

In this TRADITION classic from our archives: Gerald Blidstein offers possible explanations for Hazal’s suppression of the Jewish Hellenizers in the Hanukka story.

R. SACKS BOOKSHELVES PROJECT: "AFTER VIRTUE"In this week’s installment of the “Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project” Michael ...
12/10/2020
The BEST: After Virtue

R. SACKS BOOKSHELVES PROJECT: "AFTER VIRTUE"
In this week’s installment of the “Rabbi Sacks Bookshelves Project” Michael Harris introduces us to one of our era’s most significant works of moral philosophy – Alasdair MacIntyre’s “After Virtue” (1981). R. Sacks was drawn to the substance of MacIntyre’s philosophy and illuminated its deep affinities with some fundamental elements of a traditional Jewish worldview. He was especially enthusiastic about communitarianism – the idea, associated with MacIntyre and others, in opposition to liberal individualism, that our identities and moral obligations are primarily rooted in our communities and their histories. Harris also shows that the influence flowed in both directions – and we link to a paper in which the Scottish philosopher discusses R. Sacks application of his ideas to a Jewish context.
https://traditiononline.org/the-best-after-virtue/@

Michael J. Harris, writing for The BEST's R. Sacks Bookshelves Series, introduces our readers to Alasdair MacIntyre's groundbreaking work of moral philosophy.

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Finally a book has come out that all Jewish People must read. It explains that neither Jewish or any man had anything to do with Jesus's Death. Also explain what happened to Jesus when he went against God's wishes and went upon the mountain with Satan. DO YOU KNOW WHY? Why Did Jesus say… Pick Up the Serpent and Drink All Deadly Things? Why did Jesus tell the rich man… To see Heaven, you must obey the Ten Commandments and give to the Needy, yet preachers tell you that you are forgiven for your sins? Why did Jesus say… Don’t call me Good Master for there is none good but God. but later said I am the way and the light, and you can only get to Heaven through me? If Jesus is God why when he was on the cross, cry out God, God, why have you forsaken me? If Jesus was dying for our sins (which the Bible never said so) then why would he say God forsaken him? A God can move mountains and hold back seas, why was Jesus not able to remove a small nail from his hand. How did Mary walk right pass Jesus and not notice him? Why did his disciples go up to him and ask Stranger, have you seen Jesus? What really happened to Jesus when he went up on the mountain with Satan? There are many questions about the Bible and finally there is a book that explains all. “ I LOVE GOD by Gregory St. James Mundy”