TRADITION 54:3 (Summer 2022) has just been released as an open-access issue. Peruse the Table of Contents and start reading this particularly engaging installment of the Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought.
In the issue…
In considering a constellation of related topics on Jewish Universalism, we offer writing by Malka Z. Simkovich, who dismantles the Christian claim that Judaism is insular, ritualistic, misanthropic, and particularistic at its core. She questions whether the terms “universalism” and “particularism” remain useful categories, since both are essential to maintaining a healthy covenantal community that seeks to nourish its relationships with God and with other people. Readers will also be challenged by Yakov Nagen, who delineates some of the challenges and opportunities of shining the light of Torah to the nations of the world. Nagen argues that only in embracing this universalistic assignment are we ever fully loyal to our unique role. Less focused on the “inside/outside” mechanics of universalism, per se, Francis Nataf examines the intellectual pluralism of Rav Kook, rooted as it was in Jewish mystical practice and texts, and compares it to the philosophy of Nietzsche. Given that the ideas of both thinkers would play a role in subsequent Jewish thought, Nataf demonstrates the value in considering their teachings on pluralism, its limits and possibilities. The section is introduced by an Editor’s Note from Jeffrey Saks who wonders if, as Rabbi Soloveitchik taught us, both the cosmic, cosmopolitan universalist and the parochial particularist reside within the soul of each of us—and both have spiritual significance—how do we maintain balance, particularly when unprecedented social and communal tension, from without and from within, knock us off-kilter.
Also in this issue: Last summer, as Shemitta drew to a close Shlomo Brody shared his research on the curious case of Prozbul’s disappearance and reemergence; J. David Bleich continued his series on cannabis and tobacco, surveying recent halakhic literature on recreational marijuana and THC kashrut questions; Marc B. Shapiro presented a document by R. Esriel Hildesheimer on women’s Torah education; Yitzchak Blau explored the relationship between fear and trust in Tanakh and classical commentaries. Plus Book Reviews: Ahuva Liberles reviews Pinchas Roth’s book about Jewish life and legal culture in medieval Provence, and Alex S. Ozar on Natan Slifkin‘s ongoing engagement with the ever-relevant rationalism vs. mysticism struggle.