A new Guide to the “Guide of the Perplexed” offers much to students of Rambam’s enduring classic – and is a cause to reconsider why each generation’s perplexed keep returning to that 12th-century text. Daniel Korobkin review’s Ben Zion Katz’s new “Student’s Companion to The Guide of the Perplexed.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” is an enduring and eloquent examination of that most American of virtues: individualism. Since the essential human being is the private self, how do we square the essay's teachings with a religious life of community and contribution to the other? Jeffrey Saks re-reads “Self-Reliance,” with its echoes in the Rav and the Reb, in this week’s The BEST.
Ido Pachter’s recent Hebrew manifesto “Diversity in Judaism” puts forth an interesting, if not problematic, vision for the place of halakha in modern Israeli society. Avi Baumol applauds Pachter’s push to create a fairer halakhic system—but cautions that reaching for utopia may lead to a far more dystopian result.