February 27, 2024

PROFILE: The Faithful Transmission of the Oral Torah

In this profile of R. Hershel Schacter’s new book, “Divrei Soferim,” R. Yona Reiss discusses the volume’s nuanced treatment of the multiple facets of the Oral Torah, including the hermeneutical principles employed by the Talmud, and its relationship to the Written Torah. Reiss suggests that the book helps its readers develop a deeper understanding of this relationship and acts toward strengthening the “Masora,” a lifelong concern for R. Schachter.
February 25, 2024

REVIEW: Neve Shalom on Rav Saadia

The great twentieth-century Yemenite sage and scholar, Rabbi Amram Korah (1871-1952), left behind an important work on Rav Saadia Gaon’s tenth-century Tafsir, his Torah commentary and biblical translation to Judeo-Arabic. Nahem Ilan has now produced the first full edition with useful annotations and introduction. Carmiel Cohen, in reviewing the book, shows how Ilan unlocks Korah’s gateway to the thought and writing of R. Saadia.
February 22, 2024

Alt+SHIFT: Haredi Draft

Exempting Haredi yeshiva students from military service generated contention already at Israel’s founding, but the current war has more powerfully brought this issue to the fore. In this installment of Alt+SHIFT, Yitzchak Blau outlines the background of this governmental policy, some of the many attempts to change it, and the impact this has had on Israeli society. The various reasons why this issue may be coming to a head right now should be obvious to reader.
February 20, 2024

Noahide Laws: Civilization’s Foundation or Religious Identity?

Are the Seven Noahide Laws the parameters of an intended religion for Gentiles—or, as Yakov Nagen suggests, are they a means to rein in man’s destructive tendencies and preserve the world from obliteration? If murder corrupts all reality, as it did at the time of the Flood, and as it is now doing through Hamas and Hezbollah, how to these laws aim to serve as a corrective? Consider how the Noahide mitzvot join humanity into a stewardship that protects the fabric connecting human society with God, man, animal, and plant.