Mijn Crescas

Inloggen met gebruikersnaam & wachtwoord

Zonder wachtwoord snel inloggen?


Weblogs disclaimer

Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Rabbijn Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo (1946) werd geboren in Amsterdam en woont sinds 1977 in Israël. Als kind van een Portugees-Joodse vader en een niet-Joodse moeder heeft hij een lange weg afgelegd. Op zijn 16e is hij ‘uitgekomen’ (Joods geworden) bij Chacham Salomon Rodrigues Pereira. Jaren later haalde hij zijn rabbijnentitel aan de orthodoxe Gateshead Yeshiva. In Jeruzalem richtte hij de David Cardozo Academy op en geeft lezingen in Israel en het buitenland voor Joden en niet Joden. Hij is de auteur van 15 boeken. De laatste twee: “Jewish Law as Rebellion. A Plea for Religious Authenticity and Halachic Courage” (Urim Publications, 2018) en “Cardozo on the Parasha, Bereshit” (Kasva Press, 2019),het eerste van 7 delen op de Tora en de feestdagen. Rabbijn Lopes Cardozo neemt in zijn geschriften geen blad voor de mond en zijn ideeën worden in de velerlei media fel bediscussieerd.

vrijdag 4 januari 2019

In the Crescas Newsletter of 21 December, we published the first half of an interview with Rabbi Cardozo. At the end of his observations, Rabbi Cardozo discussed the codification and dogmatization of Jewish Law and religious beliefs as they took place in the diaspora and showed that these developments did not do justice to – and in fact opposed authentic Judaism. Here is the continuation of his arguments.

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo: This, I think, has created tremendous problems, because what we’re taking the halakha which developed in the diaspora for the last 2000 years, and we’re bringing it to the State of Israel, and applying it as if we are still living in the diaspora – when we are not. And therefore there are constantly problems in Israel about halakha, because the customary halakha speaks as if nothing has happened in Jewish history since 1948. But the truth is that the whole situation has radically changed. So the Shulkhan Arukh is in many ways outdated. And I’m sure that if Maimonides, or Rabbi Yosef Karo, author of the Shulkhan Arukh, lived today, they would say, “We never wrote our codifications for a time when the State of Israel would be established, why do you still apply our rulings which were meant for the time we lived in the diaspora?”

Interviewer: But the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides talks about the laws of the Temple and other areas of Jewish life in the land in the future!

NLC: Yes, but that is about the time after the coming of the Mashiach. But Maimonides never wrote about a secular Jewish state before his coming. That possibility was never contemplated. (The late chief rabbi of Israel) Rabbi Yitzhak Ha-Levi Herzog writes in one of his letters, that the halakha is not ready to take on the State of Israel. Because we never developed the halakha in the diaspora to deal with a situation where we’re running our own (secular) country. We were always under the administration of the non-Jewish world.

The Shulkhan Arukh starts by saying that in the morning we have to get up, and we must imagine God before us and go to synagogue to pray. But let’s ask an important question: What are the conditions where you’re able to get up in the morning and go to synagogue to pray? It requires that the Turkish government, under which the Shulkhan Arukh was written in Safed, under Ottoman rule, will have created a legal system that enables you – as a Jew – to get out of bed in the morning and walk to synagogue without being attacked. So you have already taken on all sorts of guarantees from a secular administration to allow you to adhere to your religious obligations. But that was the Ottoman government. The situation in Israel today is again drastically different. We have an independent secular democratic state which, if it wants to survive, needs to be deeply Jewish and influenced by the great foundations of Halakha.

So what is needed is to liberate the Halakha as it developed in the diaspora, where it had to deal with anti-Semitism and the need of the Jewish people to survive the Diaspora. And as I mentioned before, this often meant that it became artificial, defensive, and not true to its authentic nature. To allow it to become itself again, one needs to return to its original disposition, which by definition is organic and impossible to irrevocably codify. Only a few poskim fully understood this. I mention two: Rabbi Chaim Hirschensohn (1857-1935) in his classic work: Malki BaKodesh and Rabbi Shmuel Moshe Glasner, Chief Rabbi of Klausenburg (1856-1924) in his powerful introduction to the Talmudic Tractate Chulin, called Dor Revi’i. But these were the exceptions to the rule. Till this day most poskim will go back to the Shulkhan Arukh and still see it, with some exceptions, as the final word in Halakha.

Lately, I have been attacked by some rabbis for making these claims. This demonstrates their ignorance. If they would survey works like the ones I just mentioned, (by the way, both of these poskim saw themselves as ultra-orthodox), they would realize that the story is very different from what they think. (The same is true when I bring some Chassidic interpretations of narratives such as the sacrifice of Yitzchak, which are out of the box, but no doubt fully acceptable.) While they have the right to disagree, they cannot use the cheap argument that I am undermining the Jewish Tradition. In fact, it is very clear that I only strengthen orthodox Judaism with these observations, because they show the enormous flexibility and power of this tradition. For all of my observations, I have rabbinical sources which, it seems, they have never seen. What these rabbis have to understand is what Eric Hoffer once said: “Far more crucial than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know.” It is much more comfortable not to have to deal with unusual ideas. It does not disturb one’s comfort-zone. But it is a deviation of the truth and most dangerous. I really pity these rabbis.

The Role of the Posek

Interviewer: Should a modern posek (halakhic scholar) relate to halakha as precedence law that must be consulted before ruling, or can they approach the halakhic inquiry directly from their knowledge of the Talmud? How much of the millennia of Shut (halakhik Q&A) should a modern posek take into consideration?

NLC: There’s no straight answer to this. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein z.l. would sometimes make rulings directly from the Talmud. The Rogatchover Gaon z.l. (Rabbi Joseph Rosen, 1858-1936) would often rule from the Talmud. Rav Ovadia Yosef z.l., although he tried very hard to get the Shulkhan Arukh to become the absolute voice within the Sephardi world, constantly contradicted himself, in the sense that on one side he wanted to go by the Shulkhan Arukh, and at the same time, he constantly put it aside and went directly to the Talmudic source.

My feeling is that some poskim today are overwhelmed by their knowledge, and they drown in it. And therefore they can’t think creatively any more. If you have too much knowledge, then you can’t think on your own anymore, because your mind is taken up by this encyclopedic amount of knowledge; you can’t step out of the box. This is not only true of halakha, it is true in many other departments of human knowledge as well. We know so much, and therefore we get completely overwhelmed and we no longer have space left in our brains to come up with something new. This has been happening with poskim for quite a while now.

Therefore the biggest religious Jewish scholars are not necessarily the greatest poskim. But if you go one step below – and in Israel you have quite a few of them – you will find people who know halakha very well, but they are not stagnated by this staggering amount of knowledge. So they are probably much better equipped to respond to the needs of the day.

To only mention a few: Rav Daniel Sperber, Rav Yuval Cherlow, Rav Yoel Bin Nun, Rav Ariel Holland, and Rabbi David Bigman. In Israel which is the natural ground in which halakha can develop organically, you have people who think on their own, have a lot of knowledge, and they can examine issues with a critical eye.

Some of these rabbis have come up with some unprecedented rulings, too many to mention here. Sure, one can also go overboard. It all needs careful consideration, which requires much knowledge, creativity, a proper understanding of what real halakha is all about and obviously a lot of Yirat Shamayim, the awe of Heaven.

Electricity and Shabbat

Interviewer: When Edison invented the electric bulb, discussion began among US Jews whether or not electricity is fire. It determined the appearance and behavior of Shabbat for the next century. Today, when we have moved away even from the light-bulbs with heated coils, and with solid state devices, even issues of the labor of construction on Shabbat are no longer present, and with major poskim already saying that devices like the telephone are only a problem because of the danger of a slippery slope – is it time to do away with our fear of the Shabbat slippery slope?

NLC: Think about another challenge: the “shabbat car”. I have not the slightest doubt that in the nearby future, we will develop a car which is completely automatic and which could bring you to the synagogue without your ever having to transgress Shabbat. If you would ask me whether I am in favor of allowing such cars to drive, or turning on lights on Shabbat? My answer is No, but not for halakhic reasons – because there are really no halakhic reasons to forbid it. My reason is this: the fact that I’m not allowed to use electricity creates a certain atmosphere, which I need and I think my fellow Jews need, to observe Shabbat in the right spirit. Not because it is halakhically forbidden – there are enough reasons to rule that using electricity does not contradict the prohibitions of Shabbat.

The same is true of the “shabbat car”. Not all halakhic matters are pure halakha. They have to do with ideology. How are we creating the spirit of Shabbat? What is required there? Therefore, we may say, listen, let’s not use electricity on Shabbat. This is what Shabbat has stood for, for thousands of years. In the olden days there were candles, which were prohibited to be lit. Over the years, this was applied to electricity as well. So unless there are very specific circumstances where there is really no solution but to use electricity, I would say, don’t turn on electric lights. And do not use this kind of car unless there is no other way to come to the synagogue. Nobody is paying a big price for this. There’s no moral issue here. Let’s keep the system as it is.

This is the reason why I claim that the highest standards of Torah reaches beyond the boundaries of strict Halakha. If we would use halakhic criteria alone, we would destroy Judaism, and with it, the Halakha itself.

Take for example the case of the “Shabbat goy”, a non-Jew doing work for us on Shabbat. I think that the use of a Shabbat goy in Israel is highly unnatural and unhealthy. After all, it still means that we are depending on the non-Jews, even when we are living in an independent Jewish state. In other words: We still need to have Arabs sitting in the electric cooperation on Shabbat to make sure that we Jews have light on Shabbat. I put a very big question mark behind this. I don’t see it as a healthy situation. Perhaps we should find the technological means for Jews to do this work themselves without transgressing Shabbat. There are surely ways by which we can do this, and we don’t need non-Jews to do it for us.

Which brings me to the following: As long as they are not terrorists but law abiding citizens, Arabs are surely welcome in our State. But what we have to realize is that they are not our servants.

By using them as the Shabbat goy on Shabbat, we are giving the impression that the non-Jew is seen as a second class citizen – what we can’t do, he has to do. In other words, we are the so-called Chosen People, and we need to be served by the non-Jews. Now I know that this is not the intention of the Jewish tradition, and I personally know non-Jews who are very proud to be a Shabbat goy. But it can’t be denied that this law created a negative attitude towards non-Jews in the orthodox Jewish community – especially in Israel. It is very problematic and highly un-Jewish. With tongue in cheek, I would love to see a “Sunday Jew”, where we Jews can do some work for the non-Jews on their day of rest. Then at least we would be equals without losing our specific identities. Equal but different – the “dignity of difference” to use an expression by Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks!

Interviewer: You also have thousands of religious kids who are texting on Shabbat. Judging by the articles I’ve read on this issue I get the impression that it’s the norm rather than the exception in certain religious youth circles.

NLC: It’s a great tragedy, because it’s a sign that these young people are bored on Shabbat, that they don’t have something which replaces their smartphone, and we are remiss in offering educational ways by which to keep young people engaged so they wouldn’t even touch those devices on Shabbat. When you take something away from somebody, you have to replace it with something even better. And if you don’t do that, then you get these situations, which in the Modern Orthodox world has become a real problem.

Especially in the Lithuanian Jewish world, there’s a lot of spirituality and inspiration missing – the excitement about being a Jew, about wanting to observe the commandments. Real authentic Hasidism had a much better handle on this. Whether it still has, I do not know. The original Hasidic thinkers of two hundred years ago, like Rabbi Tzadok Hacohen or the Mey Hashiloach (Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Izbica) – were able to give the Jewish Tradition a new spirit. They knew exactly what they were writing about, even being prepared to take risks and to be highly controversial. They stated what they believed, and because of that, the Hasidic world has given a spirituality to Judaism which the Lithuanian world did not offer us and still does not.

Kashrut and Animal Suffering

Interviewer: Should the suffering of meat animals influence their kashrut standard?

NLC: I have doubts about the kashrut of kosher slaughtering of animals in America and here in Israel. The meat industry today has overwhelmed us. The number of cows and chickens which have to be slaughtered every day is so enormous that I can’t see how this will ever work halakhically. The method of shechita at the time was meant for a small town, where once in a while, people would eat a piece of meat. You can’t compare it with the reality of the meat industry today, where tens of thousands of cows and chickens are killed every day.

I believe that the prohibition of tza’ar ba’ale chaim, the needless suffering by animals, makes our whole system highly problematic and probably non-kosher. Again this is not a pure halachic issue; it is a Jewish religious-ideological issue. Because if indeed there’s a lot of needless suffering of animals taking place, and I’ve seen this personally – the way they deal with those animals is beyond all description – then the Rabbinate should say: No way are we going to permit this!

Now this is a very complicated story, because since we are a meat-eating society, we have to produce an amount of meat that the shechita laws can’t live up to. It has to go too fast. Too many animals get hurt before they undergo shechita. I don’t know how many shochtim there are in Israel – there must be lots of them – but how is it possible that the shechita will nearly always go well? You can use statistical rules of thumb, you can cite a permission here and an allowance there, but how far does that go, especially when we are bound by laws about how to treat animals mercifully? I don’t believe that any piece of meat today is Kasher l’mehadrin (perfectly kosher).

We should start educating people to no longer eat meat. Or to replace it with lab-grown meat. This is a process – an educational process. The trouble is that if we slowly start to diminish the amount of meat which we require, we’ll have an economic problem on our hands. What’s going to happen to all of the people who are making their living from this industry? And there are lots of them: shochtim, butchers, supervisors and lots of other people. You’ll have to find a financial solution for these people; you can’t just say, we should stop eating meat. We have to find a slow way by which we will get people off of eating meat. Finding solutions to the financial problems of the people who will be left without their livelihoods is going to take fifty, sixty years if not longer. The trouble is that I’ve never seen the rabbinate or the rabbinic courts really dealing with these issues.

Dismantle the Chief Rabbinate

Interviewer: Do we really need the Chief Rabbinate in Israel?

NLC: We need to end the Institution of the Chief rabbinate in Israel. Although I strongly disagree with some halakhic rulings or proclamations of the current Chief rabbis, I am sure they mean well. But they are the victims of a system that isn’t working. The truth of the matter is that the Rabbinate in Israel is the Knesset, and not the Chief rabbis. It is a political institution. Some people in the Knesset are telling the Rabbinate what they should say and do. There is corruption taking place. The institution is no longer functioning. It was meant for the general, often secular Israeli population. But it has been taken over by the Haredim, the ultra-orthodox. This was not the intent when the Israeli Chief Rabbinate was first instituted, because the Haredim have their own Rabbinate which is absolutely fine.

The Chief Rabbinate lacks halakhic poskim of great enough stature to deal with some very urgent issues: conversions, agunot, feminism, kosher slaughtering, democracy, running a modern state. All of which require these people to be great authorities in halakha and be creative thinkers, and the chief rabbis of today are not up to this. They don’t seem to possess the prerequisite knowledge. Neither do I, but I never made myself a candidate to become the Chief Rabbi.

Today’s Chief rabbis are not like the famous Rav Avraham Yitschak Kook, Rav Isaac Yitschak Herzog, or Rav Shlomo Goren. Most important is to realize that in the Sefardi community there were Chief Rabbis such Rav Benzion Uziel, Rav David Halevy of Tel Aviv, and the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Rav Joseph Mashash. All of them had a whole different approach to Halakha, and were prepared to think out of the halakhic box. They came up with the most far-reaching decisions and solutions which the Ashkenazi community never contemplated, and in fact rejected (a huge mistake).

Interviewer: So you would replace the Chief Rabbinate?

NLC: Sure. The last Knesset had already decided that every local rabbinate should be autonomous, and would have its own conversion system in their own cities, no longer subject to the control of the chief rabbinate. Orthodox rabbis who have the authority should decide in their own cities who are the people eligible to become converts. This should not be left up to the chief rabbinate, because the chief rabbinate doesn’t know these people. So how can they decide without actually knowing the people who are eligible for conversion?

I am of the opinion, as is the well-known Israeli Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun, that we should try to convert the nearly four hundred thousand Russians of Jewish decent in Israel in a mass conversion, even though a priori it’s not the best manner of conversion according to halakha. The reason why I am in favor of this is this: if we do not convert these people, they’ll marry our children, and in no time we’ll have a million halakhic non-Jews here, to the point where it could undermine the security of the State of Israel. It can create enormous social problems. So, here you have to consider not just the halakhic religious conversion issue, but the security of the state, too. A halakhic state issue. By the way, the first mass conversion took place when the Israelites left Egypt, or at mount Sinai when the Torah was given! No doubt, not everyone was willing to accept all the commandments. But they all became Jewish! Something to think about!

The State of Israel is no longer a diaspora reality where you decide on halakha for individuals who are Torah observant. We are dealing here with the State of Israel, which requires that we remain a unified political entity, and that we can marry each other and secure the State of Israel.

But it seems that the Chief Rabbinate hasn’t even considered this point of view. That is a serious dereliction of duty.

Rabbi Cardozo’s new book, Jewish Law as Rebellion: A Plea For Religious Authenticity and Halachic Courage, Urim Publications, Jerusalem/New York, December 2017, is now available at Amazon and all Judaica bookshops in Israel and abroad.

Dear Friends,

Every week I receive hundreds of emails, as well as a host of important observations on my essays, via our website, Facebook, newspaper blogs, and other media outlets. It is therefore completely impossible for me to respond – for which I apologize – but please be assured that I read every comment, which I deeply appreciate and from which I learn so much. Only in exceptional cases will I respond in a subsequent essay. My office staff will try to be more prompt in posting these remarks on our website.

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your comments with me, as well as with your fellow readers. I hope you will continue to do so.

Nathan Lopes Cardozo

   Deel dit bericht: Facebook  Facebook

Uw reactie:

vul de beveiligings-code in
jul 2020Faith and Defiance: The Journey of a Religious Rebel A Quest for Authentic Judaism, a Contemplative ...
jul 2020Faith and Defiance: The Spiritual Journey of a Religious Rebel A Contemplative Autobiography
jul 2020Faith and Defiance 2 - The Spiritual of Journey of a Religious Rebel - A Contemplative Autobiography
jul 2020Faith & Defiance: The Journey of a Religious Rebel A Contemplative Autobiography
jul 2020Faith and Defiance The Spiritual Journey of a Religious Rebel A Contemplative Autobiography Prologue, ...
jun 2020Faith and Defiance: The Spiritual Journey of a Religious Rebel A Contemplative Autobiography Prologue, ...
jun 2020The Death and Birth of the Halachic Expert One Should Listen to Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven Before Ruling ...
jun 2020There is no Mashiach Without a Song
jun 2020Some Preliminary Bold Halachic Ideas How to Observe Shabbat, Take the Tram and Go to a Restaurant! (1)
mei 2020Torah from Heaven? What Really Happened? What Does It Mean? Does It Matter?
mei 2020Shavuot Torah: The Confrontation with Ourselves
mei 2020Yom Yerushalayim The City and People of Eternity
mei 2020The Perfect Torah Versus The Evolving Torah, Essay 7 The Evolving Torah and Utopian Halacha
mei 2020The Perfect Torah Versus the Evolving Torah, Essay 6 Halacha, Morality and the Will of God
apr 2020The Perfect Torah Versus the Evolving Torah, Part 5 The Mei HaShiloah on the Relationship Between God ...
apr 2020Pesach: Coronavirus - Where is God?
mrt 2020The Eternal Torah Versus the Living Torah Rabbi Cardozo’s Thoughts on the Mei HaShiloah, Part 4 The ...
mrt 2020Coronavirus: Is It Good?
mrt 2020The Perfect Torah Versus the Evolving Torah Part 3
feb 2020The Ideal Torah Versus the Evolving Torah Thoughts on the Mei Hashiloah and the Halacha Part 2
feb 2020The Ideal Torah Versus the Evolving Torah Thoughts on the Mei Hashiloach and the Halacha Part 1
feb 2020Fundamentalism-Education and The Wisdom of the Gentile
feb 2020Praying, Soulmates, Army Service and the Halachic Chess Game
jan 2020Knowing How to Lose
jan 2020After 75 Years The Shoah Rembrandt and the Quest for Integrity
jan 2020The Talmudic Olympic Games
dec 2019Parashat Vayeshev God’s False Accusation And the Mystery of this World
dec 2019The Value of Religious Doubt
dec 2019Be prepared to be challenged, incensed, inspired Book Review Cardozo on the Parashah: The Book of Genesis
nov 2019Parashat Toledot Old Age, Facelift and the Loss Of Individuality
nov 2019Avraham and the Impossible God: The Challenge of Akeidat Yitzchak
nov 2019The Third Epoch of Jewish History
nov 2019Two More Podcasts
okt 2019Why the Cardozo Academy is in Financial Difficulties
okt 2019The Dangerous “Day After” Yom Kippur and the Joy of Succot
okt 2019Yom Kippur: Who is Able to Eat?
sep 2019The King*
sep 2019Three podcasts from the David Cardozo Academy
sep 2019Is the Torah from Heaven? Letter to a Friend
sep 2019An Introduction to Rosh Hashana Why the Shofar?
aug 2019Parashat Re'eh - The Purpose of Judaism is to Disturb
aug 2019When Times Change, Jewish Education Changes
aug 2019The Sweetening of the Divine Word
aug 2019A Command to Cancel the Commandments Tolerating Heresy
jul 2019Life: The Courage to Say 'Li'
jul 2019The Divine Insanity of Halachic Chess
jul 2019Limmud
jun 2019The Embarrassment and Honor of Being Called a Rabbi, and Third-Epoch Halacha
jun 2019The High Priest, the Pope and I
jun 2019My Struggle with Persuasion and the Truth Concerning other Religions
jun 2019Is the Torah Divine? Thoughts for Shavuot on Combustibility
mei 2019A Vote of Confidence
mei 2019To Madonna
mei 2019On Music Baths And Art As Religious Protest
mei 2019Yom Ha’atzmauth The Eternal Marriage
mei 2019My Chareidi and Modern Orthodox Struggles Question 9, Part Two
apr 2019Bread is an Arrogant Matza
apr 2019Question 9 My Chareidi and Modern Orthodox Struggles Part One
apr 2019The Israeli Elections Radical Otherness
mrt 2019Faith and Freedom The Passover Haggadah of Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Berkovits
mrt 2019Thoughts to Reject Purim
mrt 2019My Hardship with Honest Teaching And Its Privilege
mrt 2019My Controversy with the Mainstream Orthodox Community – Part 2
mrt 2019My Controversy with the Mainstream Orthodox Community – Part 1
feb 2019My Fascination with the Chaotic World of the Talmud Ten Questions for Rabbi Lopes Cardozo
feb 2019The Kotzker, Spinoza and I Ten Questions for Rabbi Cardozo
feb 2019The Sanctity of Shabbat Yes to the Ayalon Bridge, No to the Eurovision Song Contest
feb 2019My Search for and Momentary Loss of God
jan 2019Why I (Refuse to) Pray Ten Questions for Rabbi Cardozo
jan 2019Torah Reaches Beyond the Boundaries of Strict Halacha
dec 2018An interview with Rabbi Cardozo: Taking issue
dec 2018Parashat Miketz The Pain of Being a Tzaddik
nov 2018Parashat Vayeshev Divine Emanations, Chanuka and the Future of the State of Israel
nov 2018Parashat Vayishlach Amalek, Jewish Injustice, Converts and a Warning to the Chief Rabbinate
nov 2018Parashat Vayetze Be Fearful of Religion (1)
nov 2018Parashat Toldot Admitting A Mistake: Even God Does
nov 2018Pittsburgh - In Memory of Its Victims Faith, Death and Frontal Encounter (A Short Insight while on the ...
okt 2018The Curse of Religious Boredom
okt 2018Parashat Noach
okt 2018Introduction to Torah Torah: The Unavoidable and Disturbing Text
sep 2018Simchat Torah: The Unapproachable Text
sep 2018Simchat Torah Technology and the Outdated Torah Scroll
sep 2018Rosh HaShana: Fairy Tales and Humor
aug 2018Rosh HaShanah: What Really Counts
aug 2018The Joy of Saying: I am Sorry The Portuguese Spanish Selichot
aug 2018Parashat Shoftim Surround Yourself with Cleanliness
aug 2018Achieving Unity While Remaining Divided
jul 2018Tish'a B'Av – The Ninth of Av Who Needs the Temple?
jul 2018The Controversy Surrounding My Louis Jacobs Memorial Lecture
jun 2018Scandalous Halachic Decisions Ethiopians and Wine
jun 2018Parashat Chukat The Curse of Religious Coercion
jun 2018Conversion An Open Letter to Israel’s Chief Rabbis
jun 2018Parashat Behaalotecha Theocracy, Democracy, and Halacha *
mei 2018Why a Second Day Yom Tov? The Incomparable Greatness of the Land of Israel
mei 2018Atheism: Belief in the Unbelievable I have tried to be an atheist, but skepticism always got in the way
mei 2018Parshat Bechukotai To Have or to Be, That Is the Question
mei 2018Sefirat HaOmer The Secret to Human and Rabbinical Autonomy
apr 2018The Tragedy and the Challenge A Forgotten Mission
apr 2018Seventy Years of an Unyielding 3,330-Year Marriage Yom Ha'atzmaut
apr 2018Yom HaShoa – Jewish Life or Just Israeli Life? Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai or A.B. Yehoshua?
mrt 2018The Great Mystery: Why Karpas?
mrt 2018Plato’s Haggada in the “Dialogues”
mrt 2018An Open Letter to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the Charedi Leadership
mrt 2018Collapsed Halacha and Moshe’s Mask
mrt 2018Megillat Esther and the Nervous-Syndrome Chess Game
feb 2018Conversion and the Birth of Amalek A Warning to the Chief Rabbinate
feb 2018Finding One's Neshome (1) Franz Rosenzweig and the Berliner Shtiebel
feb 2018The Enduring Preciousness of the Secular Jew *
feb 2018The Challenge of Yitro Would Yóu Convert?
jan 2018Parshat BeShalach Jewish Self Delusion
jan 2018Circumcision: Why Risk Your Child's Well-Being? A Call to All Israelis.
jan 2018Moses The Successful Failure
jan 2018Jesus, a Warning to Our Rabbis
dec 2017Halacha Means Full Liberty To Be Secular Would Be Hell: Everything Would Be Forbidden
dec 2017Soul Jews and Halachic Jews
dec 2017Codifying Jewish Law is Not Authentic
dec 2017Jewish Law (Halacha) as Rebellion
nov 2017Be Fearful of Religion Parashat VaYetze
nov 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
nov 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
nov 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu Lectures and the Academy
okt 2017The Wonder of Judaism The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
okt 2017Freud’s Subconscious Discovery of God
okt 2017Afterthoughts on Simchat Torah: The Unbending Sefer Torah
okt 2017Sukkot Is a State of Mind Nakedness and a Desert Full of Snakes
okt 2017Afterthoughts on Yom Kippur Ultimate Love and the Danger of Religious Exhaustion*
sep 2017An Open Letter to My Synagogue The Curse of Indifference
sep 2017Embryonic Judaism The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu
sep 2017The Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu Tentative Thoughts Toward a Jewish Religious Renaissance
aug 2017The Turmoil in the USA
aug 2017Jewish Law (Halacha) as Rebellion (2)
aug 2017Jewish Law (Halacha) as Rebellion
jul 2017In Defense of Rabbi Dweck and Orthodox Judaism An Open Letter to Rabbi S. F. Zimmerman, Rav of Gateshead, ...
jun 2017The Waters of Strife The Devastation of Religious Coercion Parshat Chukat
jun 2017A Modern Day Inquisition Rabbi Joseph Dweck The Tragic Story of Rabbinical Small-mindedness
jun 2017Speaking Lashon Hara about the World
jun 2017The Holocaust: Divine Retribution?
mei 2017The Desert and the Wandering Divine Word
mei 2017The Ban on Circumcision Blatant Anti-Semitism and Ignorance
mei 2017Kohanim: The Challenge of Educational Dissent
mei 2017Are We Really Living at the Dawn of the Redemption? Afterthoughts on Yom Ha’atzmaut
apr 2017Boredom and the Immature Elderly
apr 2017Pesach: God’s Sporadic Presence and Overwhelming Absence in Human History
mrt 2017Parshat Vayikra The Trouble with Sacrifices Why Spinoza’s Ethics Were Not Given at Sinai
mrt 2017Johann Sebastian Bach and the Tent of Meeting
mrt 2017An open letter to Rabbi Cardozo in response to his article on Rav Soloveitchik Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik ...
mrt 2017Purim and the Challenge of the Holocaust
mrt 2017Thoughts to reject For the Early Connoisseur Purim
feb 2017Sinai Now!
feb 2017Parashat Yitro Racism and the Wisdom of a Gentile
feb 2017The Genius and Limitations of Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik z”l
feb 2017The Chief Rabbinate and Its Disgrace Who Is an Exceptionally Great Sage?
jan 2017The Unknowable, Loving and Aggravating God “I am as I shall be” (*Shemot* 3:14)
jan 2017Rabbinical Tyranny and Freedom of Thought
jan 2017Calling for Religious Unity Only Leads to Division The Need for Personal Conscience
jan 2017Syria and the Scandal of our (Orthodox) Synagogues
dec 2016Divine Emanations, Cause and Effect, and Chanukah
dec 2016God is not a “what,” nor a “when”, and not even a “who” God and the Fires
dec 2016God and The Fires “Because of Our Sins, This Has Befallen Us?”
dec 2016The Purpose of Sefer Bereishit The Abuse of Halacha: Keeping Halacha under Control Part 2
nov 2016The Abuse of Halacha: Keeping Halacha Under Control Part 1
nov 2016Walking Mountains, Shabbat and the Buddha
nov 2016The Curse of Religious Boredom
nov 2016Torah: The Unavoidable and Disturbing Text
okt 2016Torah from Heaven The Deliberately Flawed Divine Torah The Theology of the Halachic Loophole
okt 2016Approaching Tragedy with Joy
okt 2016Yom Kippur: Who is Able to Eat?
sep 2016Do We Dare to Blow the Shofar?
sep 2016Against Indifference Prayer for the World
sep 2016God Does Not Exist So Let Us Serve Him! For Poets, Musicians, Artists and Deep Souls
sep 2016For Poets, Musicians, Artists and Deep Souls The Hopelessness of Dogma and the Beauty of faith
sep 2016Let Us Violate Shabbat So As To Sanctify It The Holy Day and the Tel Aviv Railway
aug 2016Wanted: Rabbis with Knives between Their Teeth The Need for a Genuine Upheaval
aug 2016A Slap in the Face to the Holy One Blessed Be He?
aug 2016Rabbinic Despair and Simple Courage
aug 2016The Chaos Theory of Halacha
jul 2016How the Mighty Have Fallen On Joy and Jealousy
jul 2016Faith is the Joy of Religious Doubt and Uncertainty
jun 2016The Kotel Have We Gone Mad? A Call to All Denominations and Other “Holy” Warriors
jun 2016Israel, the American Elections and the Turmoil in Our World A Parable
jun 2016Shavuot Would You Convert? Like Yitro?
jun 2016Orthodox Rabbi Teaching Halakha Beyond the Shulkhan Arukh, Judaism Beyond the Commandments
mei 2016Parshat Bechukotai The Miracle of Satisfaction
mei 2016Sefirat HaOmer: What Really Counts
mei 2016An Unyielding Marriage of 3500+ Years Yom Ha’atzmauth
mei 2016Yom Hashoa The Quest for Authenticity Rembrandt and the Holocaust
apr 2016Blessed Are Those Who Eat Chametz!
apr 2016Plato’s Advice: Do Not Read The Haggada!
apr 2016The True Art of Sport: Game or Torture?
apr 2016Are You Really Eating Kosher? On Camouflage, Hypocrisy and Hiding behind the Kashrut Laws
mrt 2016The Making of an Enemy The Birth of Amalek
mrt 2016Purim, God’s Hidden Face, and the Advantage of a Permanent Job
mrt 2016The Hazard of Fluency
mrt 2016Rabbinical Courage and the Frozen Text
feb 2016Have Some Pity on the Anti-Semite!
feb 2016Shut Down the Kotel!
feb 2016A Remorseless Judaism
feb 2016Milk and Meat: The Dangerous Mixture
jan 2016Halacha as the Art of Playing Chess Divine Insanity
jan 2016Am I Still Orthodox? Answer to a Jerusalem Rabbi
jan 2016The Desecration of Halacha
jan 2016The Threat of Freedom
dec 2015Amsterdam Spinoza Symposium It Is Time to Lift the Ban
dec 2015Arguing Against Oneself: Joseph’s Self-Revenge
dec 2015Needed: Redemptive Halakha How Halakha Must Transcend Itself
dec 2015Chanukah: Hypocrisy or Authenticity
nov 2015A Prophetic View: The Gentile Aliyah Epidemic
nov 2015Oh, that I Could Take Off My Kippah!
nov 2015Admitting A Mistake: Even God Does
nov 2015 How Old Would You Be If You Did Not Know How Old You Are?
okt 2015The Religious Scandal of Akeidat Yitzchak and the Tragic God
okt 2015Israel: The Blessing of Insecurity
okt 2015God, Where are You? An open letter
okt 2015Simchat Torah: Rush or Stagnation
sep 2015The Trouble with Kal Nidrei We Are All Marranos
sep 2015Rosh Hashana Is Judaism Your Supreme Passion? (1)
sep 2015Courage, Rabbis, Courage! The Need For Mass Conversion
aug 2015Conversion and Annie Fischer’s Interpretation of Schumann’s Klavierkonzert in A Minor
aug 2015Conversion Is Not About Halacha
aug 2015The Immortal Highway
aug 2015Marriage: The Courage to Say ‘Li’
jul 2015Torah: Hearing the Divine Voice at Sinai Now
jul 2015The Temple Is of Little Importance, It Is the Eye of the Needle That Counts
jul 2015The Supreme Court of the United States, Same-Sex Marriage and Other Prohibitions
jul 2015Faith Means Joyful Uncertainty
jun 2015Religion is Dangerous; Plato, Halacha and Dreams
jun 2015The Dangling Bridges of Halacha Making rules where rules should not exist
jun 2015Bold Ideas: Take the Bike or Tram, Get a Free Coffee, and Observe Shabbat! (1)
jun 2015Halacha: The Disturbing Search for God
mei 2015Make Anti-Semitism a Source of Jewish Pride
mei 2015Shavuot, The Wonder and Glow of God’s Word
jul 2014De paradox van ‘Wie is een Jood’
mei 2014Joden, Sisyphus en Sport – (Met enige ironie!)
mei 2014God is aan het verhuizen
apr 2014Seideravond: karpas en de veelkleurige mantel
feb 2014Groots denken omtrent het jodendom
dec 2013The Abuse of Halacha
nov 2013Limmoed en het orthodoxe fiasco