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Jewish Thought

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  • Varieties of Jewish Experience

    Aharon Lichtenstein

    Rabbi Lichtenstein addresses crucial issues facing contemporary Jews - including spirituality, marriage, fear of Heaven, egalitarianism, philanthropy, Religious Zionism and inter-denominational relations - with his characteristic blend of depth, scope, erudition, eloquence, and profound moral and religious sensitivity.
    Table of Contents:
    1. "Of Marriage: Relationship and Relations"
    2. "Law and Spirituality: Defining the Terms"
    3. "Contemporary Impediments to Yirat Shamayim"
    4. "Talmud and Ma'aseh in Pirkei Avot"
    5. "Formulating Responses in an Egalitarian Age: An Overview"
    6. "To Double Business Bound: Reflections on the Divided Life of Ovdei Hashem"
    7. "Diaspora Religious Zionism: Some Current Reflections"
    8. "Communal Governance, Lay and Rabbinic: An Overview"
    9. "Jewish Philanthropy - Whither?"
    10. "Beyond the Pale? An Overview Regarding Relations to Non-Orthodox Jews"
    11. "Diaspora Religious Zionism" Learn More
  • By the Sweat of Your Brow

    David J. Schnall

    This volume is a collection of essays dealing with the nature and value of work, and the relationships it forges, in Jewish biblical, talmudic and religious literature. The author tackles issues important to contemporary management regarding productivity, occupational safety, public employment and the right to organize, even as he compares Jewish orientations to the workplace with those of Catholic, Protestant and secular ethical systems. In addition, he considers issues of peculiarly Jewish social concern such as the tension between material self-sufficiency vs. full-time study at public expense, as modal forms of righteous living.
    Among his conclusions, Schnall finds that in Jewish thought, labor carries an inherent dignity, integral to human existence as part of God's grand balance. Productive labor is equated with life itself and is a precursor to personal blessing. Workers are to be treated with respect and compassion for they are equal to their employers as servants of God and partners in the human family. However, fulfillment can never be purely a function of work-related productivity and financial success. Employees must have time for family, community and personal spiritual development.
    Members of a trade or profession have a wide variety of rights to self-governance, including the right to organize, to set wage standards and to internal discipline, subject to community approval. By the same token, workers must tend to their physical and emotional health so that they fulfill their obligation to provide an honest day's labor. Finally, those employed by the public carry a special trust. They are expected to operate at levels of higher quality and proficiency, so that they do not lose their right to organize and they are extended special consideration in regard to job security.
    Praise for By the Sweat of Your Brow
    In this collection of essays, Professor Schnall summarizes the primary attitudes and values of Jewish religious culture as it confronts and responds to the role of work and the workplace. He insists that the place of the worker and the mutual obligations that tie worker and employer to a vision of ethics and morality are "ordained by the word of God." Schnall draws from such sources as the Hebrew Bible and its classical commentaries, the Talmud, the rulings of early Jewish authorities and their reasoning in response to specific cases and petitions brought before them, the codes of Jewish law and tradition collected during the last 15 centuries, and modern works that apply this tradition to new economic structures and technologies that support them. The author concludes that productive labor is equated with life itself, and that workers should be treated with respect and compassion. His insights and reflections on the subject are both lucid and persuasive. George Cohen
    Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved Learn More
  • Commitment and Complexity

    Yehuda Amital

    For more than five decades, Rabbi Yehuda Amital, head of Israel's largest hesder yeshiva, Yeshivat Har Etzion, has imparted his penetrating, clearheaded and inspiring teachings to thousands of students. Innovative, honest and deeply humane, Rabbi Amital communicates love of Torah and concern for the Jewish people in all his words and deeds, imbuing them with his deep moral and religious passion.

    This volume distills Rabbi Amital's thoughts on the critical events and issues of our times. With acute sensitivity to the moment and a broad historical perspective, Rabbi Amital's teachings combine youthful vitality and mature wisdom to produce insights of profound relevance and originality. Learn More
  • Torah Lishmah: Torah for Torah's Sake

    Norman Lamm

    Torah Lishmah
    Torah for Torah's Sake
    In the Works of Rabbi Hayyim of Volozhin
    and His Contemporaries
    Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm
    Learn More
  • A Rational Approach to Judaism and Torah Commentary

    Rabbi Dr. Israel Drazin

    With its thought provoking insights, A Rational Approach to Judaism and Torah Commentary is a book for sceptics and believers alike. This book is engaging and informative, with topics covered including Do Jews believe in angels and demons?, what does God require of people? and how should the Hebrew Bible be interpreted?

    The book will stimulate your mind as the author, Dr. Israel Drazin, seeks to approach these questions and more in a rational, thought provoking way.

     

    About the Author 

    Dr. Israel Drazin is a Brigadier General in the United States Army, an attorney at law, and a Rabbi with three smichot (Rabbinical degrees). He also has a BA in Theology and a M.Ed. in Psychology.

    Dr. Drazin is the author of 26 books, countless scholarly articles, and holds the coveted position of the only male member of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance Journal editorial committee.

    Learn More
  • Seventy Faces

    Volume 1

    Norman Lamm

    Each book of the two volume set is a compendium of 60 articles and lectures written and delivered over a period of 50 years. The articles are divided into l0 sections.
    These articles offer the reader a felicitous entree into Dr. Lamm's thoughts and feelings on some of the most significant issues in our era. It also provides insights into the evolution of the viewpoints of one of the most prominent and influential Jewish thinkers of our time.
    Volume 1 includes Modern Orthodoxy, Faith, Community, Morality and Family and Education.
    Volume 2 includes Halakhah (Jewish Law), Holidays, the Rabbinate, Zionism, and the Holocaust.
    These articles offer the reader a felicitous entree into Dr. Lamm's thoughts and feelings on some of the most significant issues in our era. It also provides insights into the evolution of the viewpoints of one of the most prominent and influential Jewish thinkers of our time. Learn More
  • Ancient Greek Philosophy

    Reuven Agushewitz

    Born in a small town in Lithuania, Rabbi Reuven Agushewitz emigrated to the United States in 1929. A Talmudic genius and an autodidact in philosophy, Rabbi Agushewitz published three philosophical works in Yiddish. Ancient Greek Philosophy, the first published but the last to be translated into English, offers a unique blend of clear philosophical principles and a flavorful Yiddish style, which Mark Steiner's translation preserves. Rabbi Agushewitz not only explains what the early Greek philosophers said, he also amplifies their arguments with creative proofs that the ancients themselves did not offer. His attempts to correlate ancient philosophical statements with monotheism will resonate with the modern religious reader.
    In addition to the present volume, R. Agushewitz's philosophical books are Faith and Heresy and Principles of Philosophy, both published in translation under the auspices of the Michael Scharf Publication Trust of Yeshiva University Press. His volume of Talmudic novellae on Bava Kamma, "Bi'ur Reuven," was published with approbation from both Rabbi Aharon Kotler and Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. These Talmudic giants differed sharply on their attitude toward the study of philosophy, but they concurred wholeheartedly on the scholarship of R. Agushewitz. Learn More
  • Amot Shel Halacha

    Ari Enkin

    Over 100 fascinating contemporary Halachic issues. Each chapter is skillfully compiled from insights and rulings drawn from an extensive range of Halachic texts. The amount of information packed into every chapter is meticulously woven together to present each issue in a unique and holistic manner.

    About the Author

    Rabbi Ari N. Enkin, noted for his articulate and engaging manner of writing, possesses an exceptional ability to explain even the most complicated matters with extraordinary clarity. With well over 2000 references from the entire spectrum of Halachic sources, Amot Shel Halacha is simply an experience and education in Halacha like no other.

    Learn More
  • Golem

    Moshe Idel

    Idel's thesis is that the role of the golem concept in Judaism was to confer an exceptional status to the Jewish elite by bestowing it with the capability of supernatural powers deriving from profound knowledge of the Hebrew language and its magical and mystical values.

    This book is the first comprehensive treatment of the whole range of material dealing with creation of the golem beginning with late antiquity and ending with modern time. The author explores the relationship between these discussions and their historical and intellectual framework. Since there was in the medieval period a variety of traditions concerning the golem, it is plausible to assume that the techniques for creating this creature developed much earlier. This presentation focuses on the precise techniques for creating an artificial human, an issue previously neglected in the literature.

    A complete survey of the conceptions of the golem in North European and Spanish literature in medieval times, allows not only better understanding of the phenomenon, but also of the history of Jewish magic and mysticism in the Middle Ages. The Jewish and Christian treatments of the golem in renaissance are explored as part of the renaissance concern for human nature.

    This edition includes three new essays on the subject.

    About the Author

    Moshe Idel was Centennial Scholar in Residence at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Currently, he is professor of Kabbalah in the Department of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is the author of The Mystical Experience in Abraham Abulafia; Studies in Ecstatic Kabbalah; and Language, Torah, and Hermeneutics in Abraham Abulafia.


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  • Religious Thought of Hasidism Text and Commentary

    Norman Lamm

    Presents annotated translations of selected passages, arranged according to topic. Introductory sections provide an overview and a context for the material in each chapter, and a general introduction does the same for the volume as a whole. It sketches
    the historical background of the early Hasidic movement, charts its central ideas in their intellectual and historical context - the wider range of Jewish and mystical thought.
    Hasidic Thought is an encyclopedia of hasidic religious thought, covering all of the major topics and major hasidic thinkers of the first three generations. Learn More

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