First Fruits (Bikkurim) and the Talmudic View of Capital: An Essay in the Philosophy of Halakhah

The Torah commanded that the first fruits (bikkurim) be placed in a basket and brought to the site of the future Temple. There, the basket is presented to the kohen or priest and the owner recites a lengthy narrative (mikra bikkurim) which recounts the collective history of the People of Israel. The narrative commences with the tribulations […]

Messiah’s Donkey of a Thousand Colors

Messiah’s Donkey of a Thousand Colors To the State of Israel on Its Seventieth Birthday In Perek Helek, the final chapter of Tractate Sanhedrin (98a), famous for its discussions of eschatological issues, we find a focus on the speed of Messiah’s arrival (or lack thereof). Rabbi Joshua ben Levi juggles two sets of seemingly opposite prophecies. In the […]

Book Review: Letter of Recommendation of Rabbi Moshe Zuriel

Letter of Recommendation of Rabbi Moshe Zuriel מכתב המלצה של הרה”ג רבי משה צוריאל שליט”א ב”ה יומי דניסן ה’תשע”ח ,לכבוד הרב בצלאל נאור שליט”א :למדתי קצת בספרך שוד מלכים והנני להעיר כמה הערות .א) נהניתי מהחידוש שחידשת (בעמ’ מב) שהחרדה שמרגיש זה האיש שמתגלים לו חזיונות עליונים, היא סימן ההיכר שהדברים שמתגלים לו הם נכונים. […]

Book Review: Elevate Your Prayer Experience; Review of Rav Kook Siddur by Ben Rothke

Reviewing: “Koren Rav Kook Siddur” by Avraham Yitzchak haKohen Kook. Koren Publishers Jerusalem. Hebrew/English edition. 2017. Hardcover. ISBN-10: 9653017543. $34.93. There’s a story where a man comes to a hasidic rebbe and pours out his problems to him. The rebbe replies that his problems are in truth not so insurmountable, as all he has to […]

The Universalism of Rav Kook

The Universalism of Rav Kook by Bezalel Naor Stereotypes are difficult to overcome. Until recently, the stereotype of Rav Avraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook (1865-1935) was of a nationalist (perhaps even ultranationalist) who lent his rabbinic aegis to the Zionist enterprise in the first third of the twentieth century. In his seminal work Orot [Lights] (Jerusalem, […]

The Hasidism of Rav Kook

We usually associate the term “Neo-Hasidism” with thinkers such as Martin Buber, Hillel Zeitlin and Abraham Joshua Heschel. It may come to many of us as a surprise that Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook also proposed a new Hasidism, but it should not.[1] During Rav Kook’s lifetime, there were those who perceived him as the founder […]