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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Read more at Tikvah

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

Don’t Expect the Jerusalem Summit to Drive a Wedge between Russia and Iran

June 14 2019

Later this month, an unprecedented meeting will take place in Jerusalem among the top national-security officials of the U.S., Israel, and Russia to discuss the situation in Syria. Moscow is likely to seek financial aid for the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country, or at the very least an easing of sanctions on Bashar al-Assad. Washington and Jerusalem are likely to pressure the Russian government to reduce the presence of Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias in Syria, or at the very least to keep them away from the Israeli border. But to Anna Borshchevskaya, any promises made by Vladimir Putin’s representatives are not to be trusted:

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Syrian civil war