May 29, 2022

PODCAST: The Absurdity of Extremism

In this episode of the TRADITION/Or Chadash series Jacquie Seemann Charak of Or Chadash in Sydney, Australia, questions our editor  Jeffrey Saks about  his recent essay in the Rabbi Norman Lamm memorial volume, “The Extremes Are More Consistent But Absurd,” which explored R. Lamm’s writings on religious moderation as the hallmark of our community.
May 26, 2022

The BEST: “Tell All the Truth But Tell It Slant”

In The BEST Chaim Strauchler writes on Emily Dickinson and the function of art: For Dickinson, in her terse paradoxical style, art tells “all the truth” – but does so in a way that can be understood. A certain degree of falsehood – slant – must be included in effective truthful communication.
May 23, 2022

Rabbi Sacks’ Pluralism

Is it possible to be a religious pluralist without collapsing into some sort of post-modern rejection of absolute truth? Rabbi Jonathan Sacks advanced a distinctive set of answers to this question, but was often attacked by his critics as if he were undermining the extent to which our own tradition is in possession of the absolute truth. He was misunderstood to be endorsing a form of relativism or post-modernism. Samuel Lebens seeks to set the record straight…
May 19, 2022

The Byzantine Prehistory of Lag ba-Omer

The origins of the minor Jewish festival of Lag ba-Omer, celebrated today, are shrouded in mystery. This article by Aton Holzer, which appeared in TRADITION (Spring 2020), speculates that the origin of the holiday actually lies in the laying of the cornerstone of the Julianic Temple in 363 CE in Jerusalem.
May 15, 2022

Abortion Revisited

The possibility that the Roe v. Wade ruling will be overturned by the Supreme Court is polarizing. In TRADITION’s special issue exploring the thought of R. Lichtenstein, Alan Jotkowitz analyzed R. Lichtenstein’s nuanced teachings on abortion, highlighting his balanced approach to this painfully divisive subject. 
May 12, 2022

The BEST: Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations 

In this Omer season, as we read each Shabbat from Avot, Ephraim Fruchter sees parallels in Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations” and draws our attention to the benefits of reading this classic ethical text opposite the musar tradition.
May 9, 2022

New and Noteworthy Books

Our seasonal roundup of noteworthy new titles in Jewish studies and learning, with offerings on Rav Kook; halakha, responsa, and history; Torah from heaven and revelation reexamined; and more…
May 5, 2022

The BEST: A Letter Concerning Toleration

For Yom HaAtzmaut, TraditionOnline’s The BEST shares Rafi Eis’ application of John Locke’s “A Letter Concerning Toleration” to a dispute between Rabbis Sacks and Riskin concerning the separation of religion and state: When “religion enters politics, it becomes a divisive, not a uniting, force. If it seeks power, it will forfeit influence” vs. “Without power, how can the chosen people protect the powerless against their exploiters?”
May 4, 2022

The Rav on Jewish Sovereignty 1948

As we prepare to observe Yom HaAtzmut TRADITION is pleased to release this open-access version of R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s “Jewish Sovereignty and the Redemption of the Shekhina” – a manuscript originally prepared in Yiddish and delivered by the Rav at the 1948 Mizrachi Convention, just weeks after the establishment of the State of Israel.