Steven Gotlib compares and contrasts “The Matrix” and Jewish mystical traditions, suggesting the relationship between man and machine in the movie is fundamentally antagonistic: for one to live freely, the other must be enslaved. Our reality, however, is quite different. The relationship between humanity and divinity, as portrayed in Nefesh HaHayyim and Tanya, is one of cooperation.
TRADITION’s editor recently brought a fracas roiling the halls of the Ivy League to the attention of readers of these pages. As that debate about the state and role of the humanities in American higher education has serious implications for us as a religious community, Menachem Kellner joins in and expands the conversation to its philosophical and theological first principles.
Yisroel Ben-Porat profiles John Winthrop’s 1630 sermon “A Modell of Christian Charity” and its relevance to the American Jewish story: “Like the Puritans in New England, we too see ourselves as a small and distant minority meant to live exemplary lives as a light unto the nations. It is easy to read ourselves into Winthrop’s words, to hear his call for unity as a reminder of the values of tzedaka, ahdut, hesed, and other traits toward others.”
Rav Kook and R. Soloveitchik both viewed mankind as an enigmatic mystery; one saw man as paradoxical in his very nature, the other identifies the dialectical tension in his existence as the source. Natan Oliff explores…