In the 19th century, a Russian rabbi named Israel Salanter founded what came to be known as the musar movement, after a Hebrew word that can be translated as “ethics” or “admonishment.” Its purpose was to inculcate in the rabbinic elite a constant striving for virtue and inner perfection that went beyond practical adherence to the demands of halakhah. In conversations with Alex Drucker and Aryeh Grossman, David Silverstein and Shayna Goldberg explore the relationship between law and virtue in Jewish theology, the reasons many Modern Orthodox institutions have shied away from the teachings of musar, and the pedagogical challenges of ethical and spiritual self-cultivation in the 21st century. (Audio, 87 minutes.)
How to Transform Jewish Law into a Tool of Spiritual and Ethical Cultivation
Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy
Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:
Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.
Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.
In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.