God is conspicuously absent in Esther, though He is presumed to work “behind the scenes.” Nava Finkelman considers several other biblical narratives where a character attributes some outcome to God’s intervention, and, by analogy, suggests an overlooked hidden allusion to God in Esther as well.
R. Avraham Stav offers weekly insights and moral messages we can glean from all areas of popular culture. Yitzchak Blau, a self-professed skeptic about TV’s worth, along with other aspects of popular culture, admits that he finds Stav’s mining of television and movies to be rewarding—in this week’s Alt+SHIFT.
Zachary Truboff’s “Torah Goes Forth From Zion: Essays on the Thought of Rav Kook & Rav Shagar” presents complex material clearly and enjoyably. Todd Berman reviews and recommends that for those seeking an entry point to the works of Rav Kook and especially Rav Shagar, but unable to access them in their original texts, Truboff’s project is highly recommended.
Rav Shach’s long impact on Israeli Haredism, and by extension on the political culture of the State, two decades after his passing is the subject of this week’s Alt+SHIFT. Yitzchak Blau considers how the hashkafa and halakhic stances of a person intersect in shaping personality and policy.