Monday, October 22, 2007

New Periodical: Tradition 40:3 (Fall 2007)

by Jonathan Baker (crossposted from Thanbook)

A new edition of Tradition is out, Fall 2007, although the new issue is not yet online.

These summaries are based on bare skimming of the articles, I may have missed serious points.

  • Editor's Note by Shalom Carmy, “End of a Leper’s Holiday: Carl Hubbell Comes Home”, on the power and perils of communicating through metaphor.

  • Torat Hashem Temima: The contributions of Rav Yoel Bin-Nun to Religious Tanakh Study, by R. Hayyim Angel, on the ongoing argument between traditionalists and the new style of Tanach study, which involves critical issues such as philology and archaeology in understanding the text, while not departing from the truth of Torah.

  • Married – with AIDS, by R. Alfred Cohen, on the thorny questions in such a situation – should they marry, but then the other one may become infected, so use condoms, but what about the mitzvah to have children, but then the children might get infected, so what right do they have to bring them into the world, so should the HIV-positive person marry? You see the problems. He offers some precedents, but not much concrete advice. He seems to advise divorce, because while married, the mitzvah to procreated argues against condom use, but leaves it as a series of issues to be balanced one against the other.

  • The Pursuit of Scholarship and Economic Self-Sufficiency: Revisiting Maimonides’ Commentary to Pirkei Avot, by R. Aryeh Liebowitz: Rambam was not opposed to private arrangements, or self-sacrifice, to enable oneself to study Torah full time, only to communal arrangements for supporting scholars in full time learning. This was based on conditions in Egypt in his time.

  • From the Pages of Tradition: Rabbi Yehiel Yaakov Weinberg: In Praise of Esther Rubinstein, by R. Shnayer Z. Leiman. R. Weinberg’s eulogy for the wife of the last “Chief Rabbi” of Vilna, who was a great person in her own right – Zionist leader, broadly educated, founded several schools for religious girls, taken untimely at age 42 in 1924.

  • Survey of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature: The $25,000,000 Funeral. A latter-day “Pearl of Great Price” story (in the Xtian bible, we have similar stories): one should forego worldly wealth in pursuit of mitzvot, e.g. honoring one’s parents or Jewish burial. Whether necessary or not, one who foregoes his large inheritance to ensure his parent’s proper burial is to be honored.

  • Review essays: on E.J. Schochet’s biography of Saul Lieberman, which praises the huge quantity of data, while questioning the book’s lack of analysis of R. Lieberman’s personality and motivations; on R. Chaim Rapaport’s book on Jewish approaches to homosexuality, which rejects the “oness” approach (they’re biologically forced into such behavior), but offers “mumar letei’avon” (rebel for appetite, rather than rebel out of rejection) as a way to approach/accept the homosexual. His chapter of real-life letters to homosexuals puts his ideas into practice.

  • Review of Elisheva Baumgarten’s “Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe.” The last sentence: “… a critical work for understanding the medieval Jewish family and the daily realities of the Jewish experience in Ashkenaz during the High Middle Ages.” Social history and family life- both big trends in recent history works.

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