Why Some Modern Orthodox Jews Are Drawn to Hasidism

If Orthodox Judaism can be placed on a spectrum, Hasidim with their insular communities, lack of interest in secular education, and strict observance would seem to stand at one end, with the Modern Orthodox on the other. Yet, as Shlomo Zuckier has written, over the past two decades there have been attempts in the latter community to “incorporate aspects of Hasidism for the purposes of spiritual inspiration and revival.” Steven Gotlib reviews a collection of essays on this phenomenon of Orthodox neo-Hasidism, edited by Zuckier:

[G]iven attempts at using neo-Hasidism to reshape halakhic practice, it is hard to say that the concerns raised by [critics] are completely misdirected. On the contrary, one may agree with a point raised by Rabbi Shmuel Hain in the preface of the volume under review, which sees neo-Hasidism as “a potentially destabilizing force.” . . . At the same time, it is undeniable that contemporary Orthodox Jews are missing something that neo-Hasidism has to offer, namely, “to be open to heartfelt spiritual experiences, to talking about God, and to exploring the vast richness of Jewish theology, to reclaiming the emphasis on Jewish life as a quest to stand in the presence of God.”

Neo-Hasidism, then, comes with both great risk and great reward.

Read more at Lehrhaus

More about: Hasidism, Modern Orthodoxy

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security