Review of Maimonides: Between Philosophy and Halakhah

September 12, 2016
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by Ben Rothke

Maimonides is one of the most influential scholars in all of Jewish history. His seminal work The Guide for the Perplexed is perhaps the greatest work of Jewish philosophy ever written. Not only is it one of the greatest, it is also one of the most enigmatic of works.

The impetus of The Guide was in part to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy with Jewish philosophy. The Guide was written for the philosophical elite of Maimonides’ time, which adds to its difficulty. Combined with that it was written in Arabic and that most readers must rely on a translation, adds to its elusiveness.

In Maimonides – Between Philosophy and Halakhah: Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s Lectures on the Guide of the Perplexed (Urim Publications ISBN 965524203X), the lectures notes from Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (henceforth, “the Rav”) provide the reader with a better understanding of the Guide. Read the rest of this entry »


The Times of Israel: Arizona rabbi donates his ‘spare’ kidney to save young Israeli

June 25, 2015

By Amanda Borschel-Dan JewishSocialJusticeWeb2

Shortly before laying themselves down on an operating table in New York’s Mt Sinai hospital on Tuesday, two strangers embraced in an emotional, unforgettable meeting. Sobbing, the young men exchanged prayers and blessings before their simultaneous surgeries.

For young Israeli Yossi Azran, the surgery literally marked a new lease on life: After 15 years of debilitating dialysis, Azran’s slow death sentence from kidney disease was averted through the altruism of an idealistic American Orthodox rabbi.

However, for Rav Shmuly Yanklowitz, while immensely meaningful, the donation was but another of his signature thoughtful efforts to live his ideals out loud.

“I have been teaching about social justice and the value of human dignity and saving human life for many years,” Yanklowitz told The Times of Israel from his hospital bed. Speaking somewhat slowly, still in pain, Yanklowitz said Wednesday that he felt divinely inspired in making his decision to donate. “I felt an imperative to give all I could give,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »