Two Great Modern Rabbis on Suffering

To the giant of medieval Jewish theology, Moses Maimonides, human suffering is—to simplify greatly this sage’s sophisticated reasoning—a result of man’s inability to grasp the intricacy of God’s creation. But to the great 20th-century Maimonidean Joseph B. Soloveitchik, such an response to the problem of human suffering is inadequate. Reuven Ziegler, drawing on years of work organizing and editing Soloveitchik’s manuscripts, explains how this rabbi’s understanding of the theological problems posed by worldly suffering evolved following his encounters with the Holocaust, his own battle with cancer, and the illness and death of his wife. Ziegler then goes on to contrast Soloveitchik’s approach to these issues to that of one of his foremost disciples, Aharon Lichtenstein. (Interview by Aryeh Grossman and Alex Drucker. Audio, 67 minutes.)

Read more at Koren

More about: Maimonides, Religion & Holidays

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7