This week, the Parashah recounts to us the story of the golden calf.
A less widely known part of this story is that even before Moshe descends har Sinai, Hashem tells him that Bnei Yisrael are participating in avodah zara. At that point, whilst still on Har Sinai, Moshe davens to Hashem and successfully appeases Him.
As we all know, what happens next is that Moshe descends the mountain and breaks the luchot, upon seeing Bnei Yisrael with the Golden Calf. But this begs the simple question; if Moshe had already been told Bnei Yisrael were worshipping the golden calf, surely he would have known he would break the luchot upon seeing Bnei Yisrael, so why did he bother to take them down in the first place?Continue reading “What Motivated Moshe?”
“3, 5, 7, 9 free free Palestine”
“2, 4, 6, 8 Israel is an apartheid state”
“Stop the killing, stop the war, end the siege on Gazaaaaaaaaa”
Over the past week these admittedly catchy chants have been resonating throughout campuses across the UK as the local branch of SJP (or whatever the regional alternative is) make their dislike of Israel and its ‘apartheid’ policies known. Continue reading “IAW: A view from Birmingham”
We talk so much about Israel’s gap between the religious and secular in terms of militarism and nationalism. The usual questions we ask are about whether Chareidi Jews should go to the army or about inter-communal disputes ranging from peoples’ dress in more religious areas to whether the Women of the Wall should be allowed to hold services at the kotel. Addressing Bnei Akiva, Rav Stav discussed an issue that is rarely talked about but has been a major contributor to the ever-growing distance between the religious and secular communities.Continue reading “Marriage, Microeconomics and a Romantic Getaway to Cyprus”
At the end of the section of the Parasha that talks about the preparation of the Mishkan, the Torah mentions the Korban Tamid as a sacrifice that is given twice every day. Rav Meir Spiegelman points out that this commandment is out of context, as it applies to the everyday goings on in the Mishkan rather than its building and sanctification; moreover, the Korban is also described in Bamidbar as “a continual burnt offering that was brought at Har Sinai”, so does not need to be repeated here.Continue reading “Tetzaveh: The Centrality of Consistency”
The next seventeen chapters of the Torah are filled with legalities and architectural descriptions of the Mishkan – but was it, retrospectively, a shameful concession to Bnei Yisrael’s idolatrous inclinations?
Continue reading “Our History: Ideals and Compromises”
- Joe, do you believe?
- Yes Joe, I believe. Joe, do you believe?
- Yes Joe, I believe.*
‘But what do we believe in?’
There are two ways of answering this question. Continue reading “Machloket L’Shem Shalom”
Last week, I watched a rather fascinating documentary about Regina Jonas, who is considered to have been the first ever female Rabbi (it will remain on iPlayer until 26th February, found here).
For those who lack the time to watch the documentary, Jonas was brought up in an impoverished Orthodox family in Berlin, and fell in love with Torah at a very early age, declaring an ambition to be a Rabbi from childhood. After overcoming several obstacles, and reluctantly leaving Orthodox Judaism, she was given smicha by Max Dienemann, then head of the Liberal Rabbis’ Association in Offenbach, Germany. She then made a career out of visiting tiny outlying Jewish communities all over Germany and teaching. Tragically, just a few short years later, she was murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz.Continue reading “Could We Ever Have a Maharat Shaliach?”
The best thing about my university library is not its imposing neo-Gothic architecture, nor the contemplative bronze statue of Confucius, but rather its wonderfully expansive section on Zionist literature. I recently had the pleasure of making use of the works of Martin Gilbert (Z”l) et al for an essay I had chosen to write about the early Zionists – that is, those individuals who wrote about modern Jewish nationalism, and in most cases actively advanced the Zionist cause, in the period 1860-1948. Despite being a committed Zionist, during the course of my research it became embarrassingly clear to me how little I knew about many of the Zionist thinkers whose works I was reading.Continue reading “Give Some Thought to the Thinkers”
Rafi Dover and Liora Goldberg
There has seldom been a madrichim’s meeting, shiur or discussion where nobody has expressed fascinating, innovative and occasionally radical statements or opinions that take us that little bit closer to answering the questions posed by Modern Orthodoxy and Religious Zionism.
Bnei Akiva distinguishes itself from other Jewish youth movements by having a clear, well-defined ideology that expresses its Zionism and its wider beliefs in a distinctive way, without denying people’s right to their own opinions.
Continue reading “Introductory Editorial: Why We Need Yediot”