The Temple whose destruction we mourn on the 9th of Av has no inherent value. It is only a means to something that no physical object can contain. On Tish’a B’Av, we do not mourn the loss of the Temple but rather the loss of its message, which we no longer seem to grasp.
Louis Jacobs is not at all as radical as some would like to believe. In fact, some ultra-Orthodox thinkers were even more radical than Rabbi Jacobs but remained completely committed to Orthodox Halacha and the belief in Torah from Heaven.
We must teach Halacha as a musical symphony, in which all students see opportunities to discover their inner selves. Teachers must stand in front of their classes as a conductor stands before his orchestra and draws it out of its confinement, moving it beyond itself. They must show their students how to pull the ineffable out of the dry halacha and turn it into an encounter with God.
The ruling by the Eida HaHareidit that Ethiopian Jews are not fully Jewish is scandalous and deeply embarrassing. It disgraces Judaism and is as anti-Jewish as can be. This and many other rabbinical decisions are not part of the Judaism I converted to. I abhor them and want no part of them.
For the sake of later generations—who would need to know that the ways of the Torah are ways of pleasantness, of the gentle word and not the hard strike—God denied Moshe the merit of living in the land. He made it clear to all that leaders who seek to turn Israel into a holy nation by way of threat or by force may very well bring disaster to themselves and their people.
Among world leaders, governments, the academic world, and even the Jewish world, we see symptoms of Korach’s conduct. And while it also happens among the average population, it is with the “mighty ones” that the consequences are much more serious.”
The first convert and Jew, Avraham, was only asked to observe a few of the commandments, such as circumcision. An incubation period was required to allow for Judaism to develop slowly and be solidified at Sinai with the giving of the Torah. In this time frame, the great moral-religious foundations of Judaism and the conditions for creating the Jewish nation were shaped. We should allow potential converts this option to slowly work their way up to Sinai.
Halacha seeks to create a certain duality within the Jewish polity and allows space for a democratic model in which human beings decide the law, not only God. This is with the full permission, nay, on the initiative of God Himself as reflected in the Torah. In other words, the Torah itself gives its imprimatur to state law: “Appoint yourselves shoftim [judges sitting in the Sanhedrin] and shotrim [magistrates who judge according to ‘the law of the king,’ civil law].
Since the days of Hillel HaNasi, an official and fixed Jewish calendar (independent of eye witnesses) is in operation and, consequently, there is no longer any doubt about which day is the correct day of Yom Tov. Why then, did the Sages did not annul the second day Yom Tov?
I am jealous of atheists because they are able to believe the unbelievable. And I, in my simplicity, cannot reach that state of belief.