The blowing of the shofar proves that we can surpass ourselves. On our own, using only our vocal cords, we are unable to produce this sound—a terrifying, awesome, penetrating resonance. This is a sound that can cause us to break down, pick ourselves up again, and transform ourselves into new individuals.
To be an arbiter of Jewish law is to be the conductor of an orchestra. It is not coercion but persuasion that makes it possible for the other to hear the beauty of the music and to accept a halachic decision, just as one would willingly listen to the interpretation of a conductor—because one is deeply inspired.
Music raises the spoken word to a level that touches on prophecy. It gives it a taste of that which is beyond, and transforms it into something untouchable. Just as there is no way to demonstrate the beauty of music to a person who is completely deaf, so is there no way to explain the difference between a spoken word and one which is sung, unless one sings. It lifts a person out of the mundane and gives him a feeling of the imponderable, which is the entrance to joy. It sets the soul in operation and brings us near to the Infinite.
It is clear a greater number of secular Israelis would like to become more observant. However, for various practical reasons, or due to social pressures, they are unable to make this switch. One of the great challenges, if not the greatest, is Shabbat, the only official day of rest in Israeli society, when people enjoy visiting people, or meeting friends at a restaurant. But none of this is possible without the use of cars or taxis and with no open restaurants. Here are some suggestions to overcome these obstacles
The people of Israel, according to Jewish tradition, are not the authors of the Torah. Rather, the Torah is the author of the people. As a covenant between God and humankind, the Torah is what brought the people into being. Moreover, despite the fact that the people have often violated the commanding voice of this text, it created the specific and unique identity of the Jewish nation.
A poem for Yom Yerushalayim.
The Coronavirus has once more confronted us with the absence of God in modern times. This absence is often seen as the cause for much secularism. No longer, it is argued, are there enough indications for God’s interference in the national and private affairs of mankind. Is there another way to look at this seeming absence? Might we find God in silence?
The new reality in the age of COVID-19 forces us to break with the monotony that most of us are used to. Almost all of us jump into routine every morning – whether it’s a job, or the need to sleep, eat, or entertain ourselves. And now, the corona virus suddenly forces us to rethink everything, making us wonder what this life of ours is really all about.
Announcing a new initiative by the Cardozo Academy Think Tank: a series of guest essays by Yehudah DovBer Zirkind, based on Rabbi Cardozo’s discussion of the Mei Hashiloah, Torah and Halacha.
By designating Yitro to be the father-in-law of the most holy Jew of all times, God made it clear that He would not tolerate racism and that a righteous gentile could climb up to the highest ranks of saintliness.