The arrival of a large tribute volume is usually noteworthy, both for the potentially significant writing and scholarship it will contain, and for helping us frame the accomplishments of the festschrift’s honoree. The recent publication of “Hokhma LiShlomo: Essays in Honor of Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin” delivers on both counts, says Yitzchak Blau in reviewing the book. “This volume, honoring a rabbi with a distinguished resume, contains enough variety and interest to merit a worthwhile place on our bookshelves. The topics covered successfully convey the range of accomplishment of the honoree.”
Chaim Brovender writes on the value of art as he interprets two works by Vermeer: “Surely these ideas can be stated in religious language and are found in the words of Hazal. But not everyone can appreciate the wonder in the world through the word, and not everyone can appreciate the love that is expressed in creation through the use of language. Vermeer enables us to look upon these notions through an amazing representation of reality.”
Joining the conversation on the state of the humanities in the world and within Orthodoxy in particular, Chaim Waxman responds to Menachem Kellner, bringing the sociologist’s skills to sound a pessimistic note while reminding readers “Ya gotta believe!”
Today, 28 Shvat, is the 40th yahrzeit of Prof. Gershom Scholem. To mark the occasion we are republishing this column by Zvi Leshem exploring the slew of books and studies recently published on the life and legacy of the path-breaking Kabbalah scholar. Leshem suggests that understanding this phenomenon can help us understand some major trends in contemporary Orthodoxy.