Three decades following the passing of the Rav zt”l his legacy endures and his teachings still inspire – but how do we communicate his Torah to a generation “which did not know Yosef” (R. Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik, that is)? This is a question that is explored from a few different angles in TRADITION’s recent expanded issue on the thought of the Rav.
Readers of the special issue will discover that one of the many insightful perspectives on this particular question is offered by Mali Brosky, whose essay “The Rav’s Enduring Pedagogical Relevance” takes up the challenge of how we can best convey R. Soloveitchik’s thought, hashkafa, and philosophy to students born over a decade after his death and almost a generation after he left the public stage. It is indeed complex, but crucial, and Brofsky makes a compelling case for why it’s more important than ever, offering some lessons from her many years of teaching. She recently discussed her essay on the podcast she co-hosts, RZ Weekly, which surveys issues facing the Religious Zionist community in Israel and worldwide. It’s an engaging weekly roundtable conversation between Mali and her educational colleagues, Johnny Solomon and Reuven Spolter. We thank them for allowing us to share the segment of this episode over our feed – search for RZ Weekly on all podcasting platforms to subscribe.
Subscribers can access the essay alongside some open-access content available to all at https://traditiononline.org/rabbisoloveitchik120issue where the issue can be purchased as well.
Mali Brofsky is a senior faculty member at Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim, teaches for Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Hebrew University, and runs a clinical social work practice in Gush Etzion.
Weitere Episoden von „Tradition Podcast“
A Colonial Protestant Rabbi at Harvard
41:30Yisroel Ben-Porat, a doctoral candidate in early American history at CUNY Graduate Center, is writing a doctorate on the Puritans’ use of the Hebrew Bible as a political text. In TRADITION’s recent Fall 2023 issue he offered a historical investigation of an enigmatic early eighteenth-century figure, “Rabbi” Judah Monis—the first known Jewish-born degree recipient and faculty member at Harvard, where he taught Hebrew for almost four decades. Monis converted in advance of his appointment, but seems to have maintained a complicated relationship with the Judaism he left (or tried to leave) behind. The Tradition Podcast spoke with Ben-Porat about this little-known chapter which opens very many questions about American Jewish identity and politics, Antisemitism, and even current events and conflict on the Harvard campus and the halls of Congress (in ways Ben-Porat could not have anticipated when he authored the essay months ago). Read Yisroel Ben-Porat, “Protestant Rabbi: The Conversion of Judah Monis in Colonial Massachusetts,” TRADITION (Fall 2023). Watch a video recording of this discussion.
AUDIO EDITOR’S NOTE: The Abnormal Matzav
8:02Listen to an introduction to TRADITION’s upcoming Winter 2024 issue, with special content related to the ongoing war in Gaza. Jeffrey Saks observes: The initial shock, horror, and trauma of October 7th have in no way abated and all thoughts remain fixed on the “matzav”—our most abnormal situation. Writing from Israel, our editor considers the challenges for our religious community, the heartening reality of Jewish unity, and some sharp questions it poses for our way forward. Listen to this Audio Editor’s Note accompanying the new issue, due to arrive in subscribers’ hands and online next week.
PODCAST: Law and Philosophy in the Guide
32:24TRADITION’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.” It is a presentation and analysis of five integral and interlocking components of Rabbi Professor Isadore (Yitzhak) Twersky’s understanding of Maimonides’ formulation of the relationship between the philosophic tradition and the Oral Law, particularly as expressed in the Moreh Nevukhim. Shmidman suggests that all of Maimonides’ works, as viewed by Twersky, “promote the integration, the blending, the fusion of law and philosophy. We should not bifurcate the most central Jewish figure of the medieval era into Rambam the halakhist and Maimonides the philosopher, but rather view his work as one united entity.” Because R. Twersky’s major scholarly focus was on the Mishneh Torah, his unique contribution to the study of The Guide of the Perplexed is, Shmidman suggests, sadly underappreciated—and that contribution is the focus of this essay. Michael A. Shmidman is Dean and Professor of Jewish History at Touro University Graduate School of Jewish Studies. This most recent essay originated as a lecture at a conference commemorating the 25th yahrzeit of R. Isadore Twersky convened at Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University (on September 11, 2022). We thought our readers would appreciate listening to Shmidman’s talk alongside reading his essay at TraditionOnline.org. The recordings of all the lectures at that daylong event, “Understanding Halakhah, History & Spirituality,” can be found on Revel’s YouTube channel—and we thank our friends at the Bernard Revel Graduate School for sharing this resource with our listeners.
R. Emanuel Feldman Remembers Wars and Hopes for Jewish Revival
36:00As we continue to wrestle with the state of anxiety for what comes next at this troubling and traumatic time in Israel and around the Jewish world, we take strength from demonstrations of inspiring resilience and unity in our nation. We hope you’ve been following the content recently published on TraditionOnline.org responding to current events. In our upcoming Winter issue we hope to deliver some more substantive writing, tentative and initial as it may be, bringing the lens of Orthodox Jewish thought to bear on this war. In the meantime, as we try to make sense of things while navigating the maze we find ourselves in, we thought it would be useful to check in with TRADITION’s “elder statesman,” Rabbi Emanuel Feldman, whose wisdom, insights, and opinions cast useful light in the darkness—perhaps even more so as he enters the back end of his 10th decade with all the intellectual rigor readers of our pages have been accustomed to since his first early contribution in 1960. (Read all of R. Feldman’s TRADITION articles and columns here.) In this episode R. Feldman chats with our editor Jeffrey Saks about the current Gaza War in light of his memories of the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War; the challenges to Zionism and religious Zionism going forward; and his cautious optimism for a renewed Jewish spirit when the fog clears and we emerge victorious. They also talked about the role of TRADITION as a scholarly journal of ideas at a time such as this. Rabbi Emanuel Feldman served in the rabbinate in Atlanta for over 40 years before making his home in Jerusalem in 1991. He edited TRADITION from 1988 to 2001 and remains a valued counselor to our journal.
Shalom Rosenberg’s Narrow Bridge of Faith
34:18“The entire world is a very narrow bridge.” The world, all of life, is a “narrow bridge,” on either side of which is a gaping, terrifying abyss. Someone who does not live this experience cannot understand it. One needs to traverse the bridge, and it is clear from an objective perspective that he is capable of doing so. This is why “the main thing is not to fear at all.” Your greatest enemy is not outside of you, but, rather, inside of you. It is fear itself. So writes Prof. Shalom Rosenberg z”l in his essay “A Narrow Bridge: R Nahman of Breslov’s Faith in a World of Doubt” appearing in TRADITION’s recent Fall 2023 issue. Rosenberg was a distinguished professor of Philosophy and Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University and a widely-regarded public intellectual. He passed away in Jerusalem in March 2023. This essay was, of course, written and sent to press before our current traumatic moment in Israel — what all agree is a time in which we must find faith in a world of confusion and many are plagued by doubt. Because Rosenberg’s essay presents itself to us with such unexpected timeliness, we thought it would be instructive to discuss it with Rabbi Dr. Zvi Leshem, himself a student of Rosenberg. Leshem is the director of the Gershom Scholem Collection for Kabbalah and Hasidism at the National Library of Israel. Read “A Narrow Bridge: R Nahman of Breslov’s Faith in a World of Doubt” (TRADITION, Fall 2023).
Psalm 139: When God’s Presence Both Overwhelms and Eludes
44:34During this time of worldwide Jewish unity, TRADITION is pleased to deliver an episode of our podcast co-produced with our friends at Matan: The Sadie Rennert Women’s Institute of Torah Study in Jerusalem. Our recently released Fall 2023 issue features an essay by Dr. Yosefa Fogel Wruble titled “Psalm 139: When God’s Presence Both Overwhelms and Eludes” which explores two exegetical prisms for Psalm 139 and the theological relevance in understanding this mizmor as a form of emotional struggle with God. Of course, when the essay was written, and when we went to press a few weeks ago, no one could have foreseen how its themes would become presciently relevant to our current moment—but that’s often how it is with Torah learning. We thought it would be appropriate to chat with the author about her essay in light of the events on Simhat Torah and the war. Dr. Yosefa Fogel Wruble is a Ramit in the Women’s Beit Midrash at Migdal Oz, a lecturer at Matan, and the host of the 1-on-1 Parsha Podcast from Matan which explores deep thematic points of the weekly Torah portion. For today’s we turn the microphone back on her, making her the guest of this episode, for which she is joined by TRADITION’s associate editor, Rabbi Yitzchak Blau. They discuss the feeling of being overwhelmed by God and the feeling of His absence. Wruble deepens her analysis and the conversation moves in some novel directions: How does the Psalmist’s self-expression compare to the prophetic ambivalence of Jonah and Jeremiah? What are possible responses to our paradoxical experiences of feeling both His presence and absence Which related issues have the current situation brought to the fore? Read “Psalm 139: When God’s Presence Both Overwhelms and Eludes” by Yosefa Fogel Wruble (TRADITION, Fall 2023).
From Yom Kippur 1973 to Simchat Torah 2023
1:07:04TRADITION and the Rabbinical Council of America brought together authors from our recent issue on “The Yom Kippur War After 50 Years” as they discuss insights from their contributions to our pages and the sudden, tragic timeliness of that issue for events unfolding in Israel. Dr. Shlomo Fischer, Rabbi Jeffrey Saks, Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Sinensky and moderator Mrs. Mali Brofsky. TRADITION has made the content of our entire special “Yom Kippur War After 50 Years” issue (Summer 2023) open access as a special digital book: https://traditiononline.org/the-yom-kippur-war-after-50-years SUBSCRIBE TO THE TRADITION PODCAST Available on iTunes / Spotify / SoundCloud / Stitcher / Google Podcasts
41:54TRADITION’s Fall 2022 issue featured a lengthy essay by Todd Berman exploring a 6-decade-old critique launched by R. Eliezer Berkovits on Dr. Abraham J. Heschel’s “Theology of Divine Pathos.” In brief, the debate centered on Heschel’s contention that a prophet reacts to God’s emotions, that the navi is guided by God’s own feelings. For Berkovits, Heschel errs by aligning himself with the wrong side of the anthropomorphism and anthropopathism debate. Berkovits was a significant figure in mid-century Orthodox Jewish thought and was an important contributor to the pages of TRADITION. A noteworthy curiosity of Berkovits’ critique of Heschel was its appearance with an editorial note expressing some reservation about this “controversial” offering, which “evoked sharp differences of opinion among members of our editorial board,” on which he served as a member at that time. Plus ça change. Berman’s essay, with its defense of Heschel, similarly evoked sharp differences of opinion among our readers. Todd Berman joins the TRADITION Podcast to discuss the underpinnings of the original debate between Berkovits and Heschel; how the Orthodox community’s reception of those ideas has evolved in perhaps surprising ways over the decades; and what aroused his interest in this old episode which turns out to be still quite relevant to contemporary Jewish thought. See Berman’s essay, “Berkovits, Heschel, and the Heresy of Divine Pathos,” with links to Berkovits’ original 1964 article, the array of reactions generated among our readers, and Berman’s response. Rabbi Todd Berman is the Director of Institutional Advancement and a Ram at Yeshivat Eretz HaTzvi.
Materialism and the Rise of “Modern, Orthodoxy”
54:15On April 23, 2023, TRADITION and the Rabbinical Council of America convened our first TRADITION Today Summit, hosted at Congregation Rinat Yisrael in Teaneck, NJ, exploring “Material Success and Its Challenges.” Among the papers presented at the event was a fascinating item co-authored by Avital Chizik-Goldschmidt and Chaim Saiman, “Material Success and the Rise of ‘Modern, Orthodoxy’” – in which a lot rides on the title’s enigmatic comma. While the papers from the Summit will be appearing in an upcoming issue of TRADITION, in the hopes that the discussions and debates there will have a greater impact and reach within the broader community, we are rolling out some of the content through our journal’s different media arms. In this episode of our podcast, editor Jeffrey Saks (who co-chaired the Summit with Shlomo Zuckier) chats with Saiman about the paper and the unique and curious ways in which the markers of Orthodoxy’s material aspirations each respond to the halakhic requirements and religious aspirations of persons who live fully within Orthodoxy and who are invested in its continuity. Chaim Saiman is Professor of Law and Chair in Jewish Law at Villanova University’s Charles Widger School of Law, and Albert J. Wood Fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania. Watch a video recording of the conversation.
The Rav’s Enduring Pedagogical Relevance
41:45Three decades following the passing of the Rav zt”l his legacy endures and his teachings still inspire – but how do we communicate his Torah to a generation “which did not know Yosef” (R. Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik, that is)? This is a question that is explored from a few different angles in TRADITION’s recent expanded issue on the thought of the Rav. Readers of the special issue will discover that one of the many insightful perspectives on this particular question is offered by Mali Brosky, whose essay “The Rav’s Enduring Pedagogical Relevance” takes up the challenge of how we can best convey R. Soloveitchik’s thought, hashkafa, and philosophy to students born over a decade after his death and almost a generation after he left the public stage. It is indeed complex, but crucial, and Brofsky makes a compelling case for why it’s more important than ever, offering some lessons from her many years of teaching. She recently discussed her essay on the podcast she co-hosts, RZ Weekly, which surveys issues facing the Religious Zionist community in Israel and worldwide. It’s an engaging weekly roundtable conversation between Mali and her educational colleagues, Johnny Solomon and Reuven Spolter. We thank them for allowing us to share the segment of this episode over our feed – search for RZ Weekly on all podcasting platforms to subscribe. Subscribers can access the essay alongside some open-access content available to all at https://traditiononline.org/rabbisoloveitchik120issue where the issue can be purchased as well. Mali Brofsky is a senior faculty member at Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim, teaches for Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Hebrew University, and runs a clinical social work practice in Gush Etzion.