Some of our greatest commentators have wrestled with the connection between the command to build the Mishkan (the Tent of Meeting or Tabernacle) and the sin of the Golden Calf. It can be argued that the Mishkan was a concession to human weakness, and the same is true of the institution of spoken prayer!
Most of the people in both the secular and the Chareidi communities are deeply committed to their fellow Jews and to the welfare of the State of Israel. And so I ask both communities, why can’t you get on with each other?
When Jews and non-Jews rediscover that to really live is an art which few people have conquered, but which is essential to our happiness, only then will the world be able to slowly heal itself.
What is the Talmud all about? The first thing that must be emphasized is that the Talmud displays deliberate chaos. It roams from one topic to another without any real inner logic, other than that one word gives rise to a whole new idea without warning us that it is coming. The outsider may have trouble making heads or tails of it all. And then suddenly one gets the hang of it and realizes that all this chaos flows together into an unbelievable picture, with hundreds of colors harmoniously coming together. That moment of comprehension is a great joy for the intellect and the human soul.
In returning the prophetic spirit to Judaism, the world of Aggadah is of crucial importance. Aggadah is the prophetic voice within Judaism, where prophecy not only speaks, but allows the reader to answer. It is the part of Judaism that deals with the sum total of human life. It prevents mechanical observance by freeing our inner spirit. Whereas Halacha is the consummation, Aggadah is its aspiration.