- Hardcover: 346 pages
- Publisher: Maggid (January 1, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781592644360
- ISBN-13: 978-1592644360
- ASIN: 1592644368
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #786,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Torah and Western Thought: Intellectual Portraits of Orthodoxy and Modernity Hardcover – January 1, 2016
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
The Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought's mission is to help develop Jewish thinkers by deepening their education in the best of the Jewish tradition, by exposing them to the richness of human knowledge and insight from across the ages, and by confronting them with the great moral, philosophical, and theological questions of our age.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The three editors collected nine biographies of: Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook (1865-1935) who became the first chief rabbi of Israel, then still retaining the name the angered Romans gave the land, Palestine. He was a mystical thinker, but much of his writings are accessible to rationalists. Contrary to many pulpit rabbis, he stressed that not only Torah students but even farmers and other laborers are loved by God and should be thanked for their contribution to the survival of Judaism. Rabbi Yitzhak Herzog (1888-1959) who served as chief rabbi of Israel. I remember that in 1951, when my family were in Jerusalem to bury my grandfather, I asked him to give me his autograph on a Lira note (the early monetary system of Israel). He said he would like to do it but it would violate the law of bal tashchit, that we may not waste what God created. I replied that it was just the opposite. If he did not sign the note with his autograph, the note would disappear within a few years. If he signed it, it would be valuable, and would be saved. Rabbi Herzog laughed out loud. He signed the note and called in the Sephardic chief rabbi and others to tell them the story. The man had a sense of humor. He was of this and the Torah world, and because of this way of thinking and his approach to people, he made an enormous impact upon Judaism, as this book shows.
The others include: Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik (1903-1993) who Yeshiva University was hesitant about hiring, and who became a great influence upon modern Judaism. Many books are written about him and by him. Maggid books just released another book of his writings. I have an entire shelf of his books. When he came to Baltimore where we lived, he slept in my bed – without me, of course. One might disagree with his view that ancient Jewish customs should not be changed, including the idea that a woman would rather be married to a husband who is an abuser, than live alone. This led to the retention of the agunot situation. I disagree with this notion, so did his son-in-law, Rabbi Isadore Twersky.
Among the others are Professor Nehama Leibowitz (1905-1997) whose commentaries on the Torah are very insightful and enjoyable, and teach one way of reading and understanding the Bible. Also Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik (1917-2001) brother of J. B. but spelt his name without a t, Rabbi Lord Immanuel Jakobovits (1921-1999) who, among much else, dealt with medical ethics, and with whom my dad worked after dad retired in publishing a book on the subject, Rabbi Yehuda Amital (1924-2010) who established a school teaching, among much else, a modernistic rational approach to the Bible, Rabbi Norman Lamm (born 1927) who led Yeshiva University, Rabbi Dr. Isadore Twersky (1930-1997) was both a Chassidic Rebbe and a Harvard professor, an expert on Maimonides, whose books impressed me in the past, and I was impressed again after reading his bio and bought two more yesterday, and Rabbi Dr. Aharon Lichtenstein (1933-2015) who was unafraid to go beardless, who was like his father-in-law Rabbi J. B. Soloveichik an enormous influence upon a multitude of modern Orthodox Jews.
In one way, it feels like an undergraduate philosophy text-- as in, it goes on and on and on and yet there is very little (demonstrable) wheat for all the massive amount of chaff.
In another way, it feels like an undergraduate English class-- as in, there are something like 36 million books that have been written and some academic can choose any half dozen (fiction ones) that are written by people that have been dead for a long time and speculate what they *could* have meant and thought about society as it exists today (that they never lived to see). And after you have worked out a consistent argument about what they might have thought/ meant....... *so what*? (Of course, you can only take these classes after you have taken out student loans in the same way that you can read someone's speculation about the true meaning of the VOLUMINOUS writings of these 10 different rabbis that are profiled here.) And after you have paid for this book of speculation of what some rabbi could have thought........ *so what*? The first chapter was about Rav Kook, but he was dead even before the State of Israel was properly independent (1935). What could he have thought about current conditions is beyond me or anyone else on this side of life.
What else is the book not? It is not a consistent treatment of some finite number of topics and a discussion about what this ribble of rabbonim wrote on said topics. (The Shulchan Aruch is more consistent in this sense. The works of the Rif, the Rosh, and the Rambam were compared across a very large number of topics and conclusions were actually reached.)
Given that Jewish writing is usually something like: Mishnah-->Gemara-->Writings of Rif/Rosh/Rambam-->Shulchan Aruch (Karo)-->Mishna Berurah/ Aruch HaShulchan/(any of 5 versions of) Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (i.e., Source-->Commentary A-->Commentary B on Commentary A---> Commentary C on Commentary B (and so on, ad infinitum). If you think about it, among this overwhelming volume of expatiation a person could find anything that they wanted evidence to support.
It's also not really a *case* for Modern Orthodoxy--which is so individual and idiosyncratic a decision that the thoughts of Dead Old Men are not likely to help in making that decision.
It feels a mile wide and an inch deep.
Verdict: Not recommended. Not even at the price of $1.