Friday, May 16, 2008

Coming Up

Blogging has been a bit slow lately due to time constraints, so for the benefit of those members of the readership anxious to know what the future holds, I thought it might be a good idea to create a brief post detailing the topics I intend to touch upon over the next several weeks.

1. Prophecy and Torah Misinai.

This is an interesting subject in its own right, and one I plan to explore during Tikkun Leil Shavuot in my synagogue this year, but it is even more poignant in light of recent discussions on the comment threads here. In the process of approaching this topic, I will also complete my analysis of Spinoza vs. Maimonides on the prophecy question, a series I started but neglected to finish last year.

2. Understanding the Written Torah

I will be publishing my usual posts, dedicated to specific problems/questions/ideas that confront us in our study of Tanach, although not necessarily always Parashat Hashavua. I will be making a concerted effort to take up thorny and difficult texts, especially those that have been widely misunderstood or misrepresented.

3. The Oral Torah and Its Relationship to the Written

This is a subject that requires a tremendous amount of attention because it is frequently misconstrued, even by religious and knowledgeable Jews. I will attempt to bring examples that best highlight the need for and function of the Oral Torah in elucidating and clarifying Scripture. For instance, I will work on debunking the myth that the Oral tradition either "adds to", "diminishes" or "fixes" the Sacred Texts, and I will hopefully demonstrate that it in fact serves to bring out their deeper meaning. The methodology and spirit of halakha will also be discussed, so that questions about its ethical character may be put to rest.

4. Jewish Philosophy

A vigorous effort to present and substantiate what I believe to be an authentic, compelling and rational vision of Judaism. Skeptical objections will be dealt with and important distinctions and arguments clarified. Questions like whether the Torah is unique, whether science and Torah conflict, whether God's existence can be proven, and whether there is a difference between belief in the magical and belief in the miraculous will be explored.

5. General Potpourri

I plan to include some isolated posts devoted to other intellectual interests of mine (you may be surprised by some of these) that I think are germane to, and perhaps shed light on, the Torah and its philosophical underpinnings.

I look forward to embarking upon this project over the next several days and weeks.

Shabbat Shalom.


Rabban Gamliel said...

RJM check out Orthoprax's latest posting. I engage him on the topic of the veracity of the Biblical accounts.

Rabban Gamliel said...

Whoops, first type

Then type

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to it!

avrum68 said...

Ditto. Very excited.

Rabban Gamliel said...

Ditto Ditto. Very excited.

Anonymous said...

The Gemoro in Ta'anis (21a) relates that a poor man who was starving asked Nachum for food. Unfortunately, by the time he unloaded his donkey to get it, the poor man died. Nachum was very shaken by what had happened and fell on the poor person and said, "My hands which didn't have pity on your hands, should be cut off. My legs which didn't have pity on your legs, should also be cut off. My eyes which didn't have pity on your eyes should be blinded. Finally he also requested that his entire body be covered with boils. His requests were fulfilled. His eyes were blinded, his hands and feet were cut off, and his whole body was full of boils.

Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...


I hear your point, but I was out of town for a substantial part of the week and simply unable to begin posting. Stay tuned.