Zionism, Humanism, and Naturalness: The Theology of Yehuda Amital

Nov. 13 2015

Yehuda Amital (1924-2010), a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor, spent most of his career as the head of the Har Etzion yeshiva and became a leading figure in the Religious Zionist movement. In an analysis of Amital’s life, work, and thought, Reuven Ziegler and Yehudah Mirsky explain the notion of “humanity” (enoshiyut) that formed one of the “fundamental principles” of his theology. (Free registration required.)

[According to Amital, the] “worship of God, in whatever form, cannot wipe out simple human feeling.” As an example, he cites the obligation of a kohen [priest] to defile himself [ritually by attending a funeral] and mourn for close relatives despite his calling to serve in the Temple. Even Aaron, the high priest, who was not permitted to desist from his service, received Moses’ approval when he asserted that he still mourned his sons in his heart (Lev. 10:16–20).

Humanity further entails the recognition of fundamental human traits—human weakness and frailty prominently among them. This applies even to great individuals and extends to revered canonical figures, as we find them depicted both by the Tanakh and by the sages. . . .

This set of ideas is connected to another . . . : the importance of “naturalness” in the life of mitzvot. . . . On the one hand, the human ideal according to Judaism is not, as in some Eastern teachings, the attainment of tranquility, but rather perpetual aspiration, activity, and growth. Yet, on the other hand, excessive tension and anxiety in the worship of God is abnormal and counterproductive, often leading to paralysis. Fear of God should be natural, like fear of one’s parents. Similarly, prayer should be natural, a “conversation” with God. What is natural is not necessarily holy, but what is holy should be natural.

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Read more at Academia.edu

More about: Abraham Isaac Kook, Judaism, Prayer, Religion & Holidays, Religious Zionism, Yehuda Amital

 

Hamas’s Tactics of Attrition and Extortion Are Paying Off

Feb. 21 2020

In January, the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh visited Iran after promising the Egyptian government that he would not. Cairo responded by cutting exports of cooking gas and tires to the Gaza Strip. Facing a possible domestic crisis, the terrorist group recently resumed sending balloon-borne explosives into Israel, and allowed other jihadists to fire rockets. The move succeeded, despite retaliatory strikes by the IDF, writes Elior Levy:

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Read more at Ynet

More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, Israeli Security