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Why does the Torah prohibit eating certain types of animals? Several explanations have been posited: From Maimonides’s suggestion that the prohibitions are rooted in a concern for health, to Samson Raphael Hirsch’s explanation concerning the connection of one’s body to one’s soul. In this 2006 Azure article, Meir Soloveichik argues these explanations misunderstand the true […]

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The politics of ancient Israel were theocratic, federal, and republican, Daniel J. Elazar argues in this 1973 Tradition article. Deriving his understanding of the political teaching of the Hebrew Bible by analyzing the its account of Israelite history and the judgment it casts upon alternative political institutions, Elazar takes the reader through the four constitutional […]

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In the “struggle for universal human dignity and equality,” the Jewish legal tradition instructs and complements the modern tradition of rights. Yale law professor Robert M. Cover argues in this 1988 article for the Journal of Law and Religion that, in contrast to modern conceptions of rights, which are primarily concerned with the protection of […]

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Does Bible Criticism leave room for faith? Noted Bible scholar Jon Levenson points out in this 1993 First Things article that the purely secular, critical approach to the Bible of many academics suffers from the same faults as does the fundamentalist religious approach: both ultimately rely on their own uncriticized values and assumptions. Pluralism and […]

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What is the Jewish understanding of economic justice? Many Jews assume it is one in which property rights are limited for the purpose of redistributing wealth and lessening the economic gap between rich and poor. Indeed, Jewish thinkers have been some of the chief proponents of socialism since its inception, and socialist economic policy was […]

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Press play below to listen to the podcast, download it in the iTunes Store, or stream it via Stitcher.  In this podcast, Eric Cohen talks with Jay Lefkowitz about his provocative 2014 essay, “The Rise of Social Orthodoxy: A Personal Account”. The essay caused a stir by describing a subset of American Modern Orthodox Judaism whose participation in […]

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Understanding the human condition, the essential qualities that make us who we are, shapes how we think about our purpose as men and women created in the image of God.  Searching for distinctive characteristics that separate the human animal from all others, philosophers have proposed that man is an acquisitive animal, a social animal, a […]

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Press play below to listen to the podcast, download it in the iTunes Store, or stream it via Stitcher.  In this podcast, Eric Cohen sits down with the legendary editor of Commentary, Norman Podhoretz, to discuss his 2007 essay, “Jerusalem: The Scandal of Particularity.” The ancient capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem, has been the essential center of […]

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The Tikvah Fund is pleased to republish—for the first time online—one of the great ethicists and philosophers Hans Jonas’s forgotten forays into Jewish thought. Jonas argues that Judaism and scientism, the ideological faith in science as an authority in all realms of human life, are in opposition at the most basic levels.  In their moral […]

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Faith in the Flesh

June 20, 2016 | By: R.R. Reno

As Catholic theologian, social critic, and First Things editor R.R. Reno sat in the synagogue pews one Saturday morning, watching his daughter assume her place in the people of Israel as a bat mitzvah, he was provoked to scrutinize his own Christian faith in light of the Judaism of his wife and children. In this […]

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