Chaim Strauchler initiates the Tradition Questions Project with a reflection on the physical dimensions of Torah scrolls. They’re getting smaller. He suggests that this may be a problem: This change, while facilitating admirable popular contact with Torah scrolls, is not without halakhic problems. For our purposes it opens an array of questions, including: Who counts as an “important person”? Can such an idea persist in contemporary society? How does this trend relate to privatization of what were once communal objects (and norms)?
As we prepare to read the twinned stories of the banishment of Ishmael and the binding of Isaac we revisit this installment from our The BEST series, in which our editor Jeffrey Saks offered a reading of Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "Gilead." In this work about fathers and sons, and our Father in heaven and His children, Robinson (a devout Christian) puts into the mouth of her protagonist an extended homily on the Patriarch Abraham and his sons.
In advance of the once-in-seven-year signing of the prozbul, Shlomo Brody joins the TRADITION Podcast to discuss his recent TRADITION essay “The Curious Case of Prozbul’s Disappearance and Resurgence” – a fascinating test-case that raises interesting questions about how and if halakha adapts and evolves.
Chaim Strauchler writes on Adam Smith’s classic “The Wealth of Nations” for The BEST: Each person acting in his own self-interest “conquers” the world – as God tasked Adam I. With this ingenuity, humanity acting together constitutes “the invisible hand” – a combination of the human and something almost divine.