In a previous essay on Tolerance, attention was drawn to the fact that personal conscience is of prime value and that one should not confuse tolerance with apathy. For this reason, Orthodoxy’s refusal to compromise on its own principles so as to appease the Reform and Conservative movements should only be honored and respected. Even unity cannot always be the final arbiter.
One of the most puzzling laws in Halacha (Jewish Law) is the requirement to observe a second day Yom Tov (festival) in all Jewish Communities outside the land of Israel.
“And the time of threshing shall reach until the vintage and the vintage shall reach the sowing time. You shall eat your bread to satiety and you shall dwell in your land without worry.” (Vayikra 26:5)
Lately, the State of Israel is experiencing a new phenomenon. As is well known, the Ba’al Teshuva movement, which includes thousands of secular Jews who have turned to Judaism, has made a major impact on Israeli society. Many young people who were once involved in extreme secularity felt that they had to re-connect with their own heritage and found their way back to Torah and Tradition. This gave rise to a great amount of highly successful institutions such as Aish haTorah, Ohr Somayach, Machon Meir and Neve Yerushalaim.
One of the most challenging aspects of religious life is how to relate to the concept of revelation. The uncompromising claim by Judaism that the Torah is not a book which was written by man but the result of a revelation of God’s will to man requires a formidable amount of faith in the face of so much skepticism and secularity.