In his recent book, Halakhah: The Rabbinic Idea of Law, Chaim Saiman asks why Judaism has traditionally seen the study of the intricacies of tort law, or the minutiae of long-defunct sacrificial rituals, as the highest form of religious devotion. Saiman argues that halakhah in fact provided ancient rabbis with a rubric for discussing the profoundest questions about God and the human condition in a way that never departs from concrete reality. He discusses these ideas, the future of talmudic education, and the meaning of Jewish law in the state of Israel in conversation with Mark Gottlieb. (Audio, 46 minuntes.)
Halakhah Provides a Uniquely Rabbinic Way of Analyzing the Human Condition
The Woman behind a Notorious Suicide Bombing Walks Free. Will America See That She Is Punished?
On August 9, 2001, Ahlam Tamimi and Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri traveled from the West Bank to Jerusalem, where Masri detonated himself in a Sbarro’s pizzeria, killing seven children and eight adults, and injuring scores. When the two passed through an Israeli checkpoint earlier that day, they appeared to be a young couple; had Masri been alone, police almost certainly would have stopped him and discovered the deadly bomb in his guitar case. Tamimi was arrested shortly thereafter and sentenced to life in prison. Ten years later, she was among the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners exchanged for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. She now resides in Jordan.