Understanding the Jewish Romance with the Law

June 11 2019

Psalm 19 states that “the precepts of the Lord are just, bringing joy to the heart; . . . the laws of the Lord are true, righteous altogether, more desirable than gold, than much fine gold; sweeter than honey, than drippings of the comb.” To the Christian writer C.S. Lewis, the notion that laws and rules—necessary as they may be—could be a source of joy and sweetness was instead a source of puzzlement. Jews, by contrast, take this view of the law for granted. Torah is celebrated with not one but two festivals: the holiday of Shavuot (which concluded last night) as well as the raucous Simḥat Torah in the fall. To explain the meaning of Shavuot, Meir Soloveichik draws on rabbinic texts, the Yiddish writer Y.L. Peretz, and Christian thinkers who struggled to understand this peculiar Jewish attitude. (Video, 35 minutes.)

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More about: I.L. Peretz, Jewish law, Judaism, Shavuot

Is There a Way Out of Israel’s Political Deadlock?

On Tuesday, leaders of the Jewish state’s largest political parties, Blue and White and Likud, met to negotiate the terms of a coalition agreement—and failed to come to an agreement. If none of the parties in the Knesset succeeds in forming a governing coalition, there will be a third election, with no guarantee that it will be more conclusive than those that preceded it. Identifying six moves by key politicians that have created the deadlock, Shmuel Rosner speculates as to whether they can be circumvented or undone:

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More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Election 2019, Israeli politics