To One Great Hasidic Thinker, the Shofar Was a Tool to Loosen the Divine from Its Corporeal Shackles

Sept. 26 2019

Rabbi Moshe Ḥayyim Efraim of Sudilkov (ca. 1740-1800) was a grandson and disciple of the founder of Ḥasidism, Israel Baal Shem Tov, and an innovative thinker in his own right. Published in 1810, his collected sermons would become, in Eitan Fishbane’s words, “one of the most popular and influential works of ḥasidic thought.” In a sermon for the Sabbath preceding Rosh Hashanah, the rabbi explicates Psalms 89:16, the verse recited in the synagogue immediately after the holiday’s central ritual, the blowing of the shofar: “Happy is the people who know the blast, Lord; they will walk in the light of Your countenance”—the word rendered here as “blast” (t’ruah) being the standard term for the  trumpeting of the shofar. Fishbane explains the theology animating the homily:

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Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Hasidism, Judaism, Kabbalah, Rosh Hashanah, Shofar

 

Why Israel’s Political Crisis Remains Unresolved

April 8 2020

On Monday afternoon, Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu—the leaders of Israel’s two major political parties—seemed poised to finalize a coalition agreement that would end the yearlong political stalemate. By the evening, talks broke down after Likud negotiators backtracked from a compromise over judicial appointments, and Gantz ordered his representatives to leave the table. Haviv Rettig Gur explains that Netanyahu, the incumbent prime minister, has found himself on the horns of a dilemma: he can’t form a government without compromising with Gantz, but he risks burning his bridges with his right-wing allies, foremost among them the Yamina party:

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz, Israeli politics, Yamina