January 28, 2024

AUDIO EDITOR’S NOTE: The Abnormal Matzav

Writing from Israel, our editor Jeffrey Saks considers the war’s challenges for our religious community, the heartening reality of Jewish unity, and some sharp questions it all poses for our way forward. Listen to this Audio Editor’s Note accompanying TRADITION’s forthcoming Winter 2024 issue, with special content related to the ongoing war in Gaza.
January 25, 2024

Alt+SHIFT: Panim el Panim

Yonatan Feintuch’s “Panim el Panim” makes a major contribution to the growing world of aggadic study. He shows how paying attention to halakhic and aggadic context enhances aggadic interpretation and reveals that literary sensitivity to intertextuality, leitwort, and word-plays enriches our reading. Beyond a literary reading, Feintuch outlines varying models for how an aggadic text can impact on the legal discussions in the Talmud.
January 22, 2024

How Long Were We in Egypt?

How many years were the Children of Israel in Egypt? With this week’s Torah reading about the Exodus, follow along as we do the math and consider Daniel Langer’s suggested solution to an age-old question in his recent TRADITION essay, “Solving the Chronological Problem of the Bondage in Egypt” (Summer 2022)—now open access.
January 18, 2024

TRADITION QUESTIONS: Yeshiva Week at War

An opportunity to both differentiate from general society while acculturating to its happy materialism, yeshiva day schools' mid-winter intercession symbolizes much about contemporary Orthodox Jewish culture in America. Focusing on the idea of leisure, Chaim Strauchler asks how Yeshiva Week will be different this year. How will the ongoing war in Israel change how American Jews experience this break?
January 15, 2024

PODCAST: Law and Philosophy in the Guide

TRADITION’s Summer 2023 issue, recently made fully open access, contained a fascinating offering penned by Michael A. Shmidman, our distinguished editor emeritus, titled “Isadore Twersky’s Unique Contribution to the Study of The Guide of the Perplexed”—a presentation and analysis of interlocking components of Rabbi Professor Isadore (Yitzhak) Twersky’s understanding of Maimonides’ formulation of the relationship between law and philosophy, particularly as expressed in the Moreh Nevukhim. In this podcast episode we share the recording of Shmidman’s lecture on which the essay is based, presented at a conference in memory of R. Twersky at Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies.
January 11, 2024

Alt+SHIFT: Ma At Mevakeshet?

Contemporary Western sexual ethics clashes sharply with traditional Jewish approaches leading many Orthodox authors to address this conflict. In a noteworthy new book, Oriya Mevorach adds a fresh approach—by finding fault with some traditional Jewish discourse about sexuality and at the same time offering a sharp critique of popular Western approaches. In Alt+SHIFT Yitzhak Blau shows how Mevorach’s helpful categories for mapping out the terrain of the discussion are themselves an important contribution to this discussion.
January 8, 2024

Jewish Youth, Israel, Then and Now

University student Mayah Bernstein utilizes a 1992 TRADITION Symposium reflecting upon the Six Day War to convey the difference of the Jewish-American college-aged response of 1967 with that of today. In the current conflict, a disturbing lack of religious mission prevents many youths from As today, we currently lack an overarching sense of religiosity to inform our opinions regarding Israeli sovereignty.
January 4, 2024

TRADITION QUESTIONS: Naming the Monster

Israel very deliberately chooses names for its wars. As we prepare for the parsha of names and ancient hatred, Chaim Strauchler asks why we don’t similarly name the forms that antisemitism takes. A single name would ease communication, allowing us to better express what the “monster” is and how it might be fought. Reviewing three candidates for today’s legitimization of explicit Jew-hatred, Strauchler finds advantages and disadvantages for each sword by which the monster might be slain.
January 1, 2024

20 Tevet: Maimonides’ 819th Yahrzeit

Today, 20 Tevet, is the 819th Yahrzeit of the “Great Eagle” Maimonides. That amount of time may surprise those of us for whom Rambam is a daily, living companion. To mark the occasion we release open-access Michael A. Shmidman’s recent essay, “Isadore Twersky’s Unique Contribution to The Guide of the Perplexed” (TRADITION, Summer 2023).