July 29, 2021

The BEST: “I Have a Dream”

Writing for "The BEST" on MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech, Zev Eleff suggests: Today, some Orthodox commentators take great pains to argue for the Jewish spark within Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. This impulse reduces the force and meaning of both Jewish and American sources. Instead, we ought to take important texts and materials at fuller depth, appreciating them on their own terms. Like King’s “I Have a Dream,” our traditions—certainly the Jewish ones, but the best of the American canon, too—ought to stand on their own without the support of cultural and political alchemy.
July 26, 2021

The Sound of Sinai

To commemorate today's first yahrzeit of Rav Steinsaltz zt”l TRADITION republishes these tributes penned by Rabbi David Rozenson and Prof. David Berger. How did R. Steinsaltz, one of the most prolific and preeminent rabbis of our generation, come to play a key role in the revitalization of Soviet Jewry in Gorbachev's Russia? The true background to this part of his life, and his involvement in the astonishing Jewish renaissance behind the Iron Curtain, is little-known and has been under-reported.
July 25, 2021

REVIEW: Uncommon Wisdom – R. Steinsaltz’s Avot

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.”
July 22, 2021

The BEST: Violence and the Sacred

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.
July 19, 2021

REVIEW: The Snake at the Mouth of the Cave

Moshe Sokol’s new book, “The Snake at the Mouth of the Cave” offers new readings of Talmudic aggadot. Yitzchak Blau reviews…
July 15, 2021

The BEST: A Rumor of Angels

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.
July 12, 2021


TRADITION congratulates our editorial board member, Prof. David Shatz, on the publication of “The Torah U-Madda Journal,” vol. 18, the final issue to appear under his distinguished 21-year editorship of the journal.
July 11, 2021

The Midrashic Filling of Eikha’s Void

Certain that this will provide a meaningful read this week of Tisha B’Av we share Dr. Yael Ziegler’s essay “The Midrashic Filling of Eikha’s Void.” This essay originally appeared in TRADITION’s Summer 2020 issue and has now been collected in Dr. Ziegler's "Lamentations: Faith in a Turbulent World" (Maggid Books). 
July 8, 2021

The BEST: On the Social Contract

Rousseau’s “Social Contract” does not alienate the individual’s power of self-government, but preserves it in elevated form. Society forms not to avoid violence, but so that individuals can better meet the challenges of living through collaboration, innovation, and shared knowledge. It’s Rabbi Sacks’ concept of a politics of “We instead of Me” writes Isaac Fried in this week’s The BEST.