The Jewish Metaphysics of Sin

According to Jewish tradition, Moses ascended Mount Sinai to receive the second set of Tablets—a symbol of God’s reconciliation with the Israelites after they worshipped the golden calf—on the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which is Yom Kippur, a day thus dedicated to atonement and forgiveness. Using this passage as a point of departure, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik analyzed the meaning of sin and repentance in this 1974 lecture, given nearly one year after Syria and Egypt launched a surprise attack on the Jewish state on its most sacred holiday. Soloveitchik, as was his wont, drew here on his grandfather’s system of talmudic analysis, which makes much of the legal distinction between a person, or gavra, and an object, or ḥeftsah. (Video, 28 minutes. Yiddish with English subtitles.)

Read more at Ohr Publishing

More about: Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Mount Sinai, Yom Kippur War

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy