In advance of R. Steinsaltz’s first yahrzeit, Marina Zilbergerts pays tribute to the great scholar and teacher by leading us through some of the insights in his recent commentary to Avot. Steinsaltz’s “wide-ranging glosses on the nature of wisdom, intellectual achievement, human relationships, virtue, and government, among other topics, show how Avot explores the problems faced by the individual as a moral agent in a world where knowledge is readily available but wisdom is hard to come by.”
Rene Girard argues that sacrifice channels violence into a sacred moment. A surrogate victim is chosen allowing a moment of deep catharsis. In this week’s “The BEST” Zissy Turner sees in “Violence and the Sacred” a framework within which to guide her student’s response to anti-Semitism.
Peter L. Berger provides sociological language to explain the dangers of being a cognitive minority in an open society. Mijal Bitton explains that Berger’s “A Rumor of Angels” is “The Best,” because it offers methods by which religious believers might push back within a secular, intellectual world.