Book Review: Finding God in History- A Review of When God Becomes History: Historical Essays of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook by Rabbi Pesach Sommer

Below is a review of my recent book, When God Becomes History by Rabbi Pesach Sommer: As I have noted in a previous review, Rav Kook, despite being somewhat well known, is the victim of all sorts of assumptions. This is particularly true in the English speaking world where he is primarily known for his […]

Hallel from Heaven and Hallel from Hell: The Post-Holocaust Responses of Paul Celan, Aharon Appelfeld and Meshulam Rath

Hallel from Heaven and Hallel from Hell – “Just as the praise of the Holy One ascends to Him from Heaven, so it ascends from Hell.” – (Midrash) What do poet Paul Celan, novelist Aharon Appelfeld, and religious legalist Meshulam Rath share in common? Two things. First, they all emerged from Tchernowitz (today Chernivtsi, Ukraine), capital of […]

Batei le-Gani (“I Came to My Garden”): Two Discourses of Rabbi Schneersohn and Rabbi Hutner Compared

By Bezalel Naor In the year 5710/1950, in honor of the tenth of Shevat, the yahrzeit of his paternal grandmother Rebbetzin Rivkah, Rabbi Yosef Yitshak Schneersohn, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, composed and distributed a ma’amar (discourse) to be studied on that day. As Divine Providence would have it, the tenth of Shevat (which fell on a […]

Book Review: Maimonides Between Philosophy and Halakhah: Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s Lectures on the Guide of the Perplexed

BOOK REVIEW BY BEZALEL NAOR Maimonides Between Philosophy and Halakhah: Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s Lectures on the Guide of the Perplexed Edited with an Introduction by Lawrence J. Kaplan (KTAV/Urim: Jerusalem, 2016) 256 pp. US $28.95 In the late 1970s, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik entrusted Lawrence Kaplan with the formidable task of translating his classic […]

Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha’s Mystical Encounter with Akatriel in the Holy of Holies: A Lesson for the Generation of the Holocaust

Said Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha: One time I entered to offer incense in the inner sanctum, and I saw Akatriel, Yah, Adonai Tseva’ot sitting upon an exalted throne, and He said to me, “Ishmael, my son, bless me.” I said to Him: “May it be Your will that Your compassion conquer Your wrath; and Your […]