Monday, March 22, 2010

New Periodical: Milin Havivin vol. 4

New issue of Milin Havivin (vol. 4, 5769-5770, 2008-2010), the YCT annual student journal devoted to studies in Torah, society and the rabbinate (I can't find it online yet: link):

  • 'I am the Seer': Objective and Subjective Elements of Samuel's Relationship to Saul and the Monarchy in I Samuel 8-16 by R. Hayyim Angel - A study of Shmuel's errors in these chapters, humanizing the prophet but maintaining the perspective of dealing with a great man.
  • Sacred Rebellion: Socialism and Messianic Religious Zionism by R. David Wolkenfeld - An historical study of some key figures in the Poel HaMizrachi political movement.
  • Minority Opinions and Their Role in Hora'ah by R. Nathaniel Hefgot - Really a collection of small discussions on different aspects of minority opinions, including a noteworthy treatment of the role of the local rabbi (mara de-asra) - something about which I have been thinking lately.
  • Competition, Pricing, Consumer Responsibility and Fair Trade in a Global Economy: A Modern Jewish Perspective by Shmuly Yanklowitz - A long article that deftly weaves together politics (on the Left, not that there's anything wrong with it) and halakhah, what seems to me to be the manifesto of a politically active rabbinical student. I suspect that people with different political leanings will agree with many of the sentiments but not all of the conclusions.
  • Of Battles and Military Strategies in Sefer Shoftim by R. Dr. Dov Zakheim - A remarkably different perspective on the biblical book - studying its military strategies, written by a long-time Pentagon employee.
  • On the World of Yeshivot by R. Menachem Hacohen - Why isn't the yeshiva world (both Charedi and Religious Zionist) producing books of lasting quality? I'm not convinced by the premise -- consider R. Moshe Sternbuch's Moadim U-Zmanim, R. Shmuel Wosner's Shevet Ha-Levi, R. Yehuda Henkin's Bnei Banim and the many works by R. Yitzchak Sorotzkin. It might be that the publication explosion is drowning out newer books of quality in a glutt of mediocre works.
  • Head to Head: Power Struggles in the Creation and Formation of the Habad Movement by Ben Vago - The history of the rise of R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, and his opposition.
  • Appropriate Judicial Practice in the Rabbinic Courts by R. Shlomo Deichowsky - A translation of the retirement letter of one of Israel's leading rabbinic judges, essentially detailing what "room for improvement" exists in the Israeli rabbinic court system.
  • From Hiddushei Ramban on the Holiday of Purim: A Case Study in Halakhic Innovation by Dr. Isaac Chavel - The institution of Purim as a continuous holiday is more complex than most people realize. The story told at the end of the Megillah is complex and difficult to parse. This article describes the Ramban's original and little-known approach.
  • Hebrew Section
  • The Character of the Public Domain on Shabbat in the State of Israel by R. Yuval Cherlow - A very strict approach to the "spirit" of Shabbos based on the Ramban, which prohibits many otherwise unobjectionable activities under the vague category of uvda de-chol (weekday activities). For example, he rules that swimming in a pool on Shabbos is biblically forbidden because of this reason. Note that this is another authority supporting R. Mayer Twersky in a debate in the Edah Journal in which I defended him (link).
  • The Sabbatical of the Human Being and The Sabbatical of the Land by Dr. Aviad Hacohen - The need to emphasize the interpersonal elements of the mitzvos of shemitah (the sabbatical year) and yovel (the jubilee year).
  • May One Enter a Church? An Unpublished Responsum of Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits by Dr. Marc Shapiro - A lenient view, permitting it for the sake of academic interest.
  • Miriam the Prophetess and the Seder Night by Dr. Yael Levine - Searching traditional sources for connections between Miriam and the seder.

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