Despite the edict of “dina de-malkhuta dina,” time and again we seem to read about otherwise extremely observant Jews who are accused of violating all kinds of secular laws, from money laundering, to tax evasion, to (lately) organ selling.
Are Haredim more prone to illegal or unethical conduct than others? What remains unknown, though, is how much that perception owes to reality and how much to a prejudice among people toward the Haredim or the visibility of Haredi Jews.
The story, like Agnon himself, is torn between the secular Zionist culture of the newly born Jewish settlement in Palestine (represented by Tel Aviv) and the traditional Jewish culture of Europe and the “Old Settlement” (represented by Jerusalem).
Margo Howard reflects on the midrash of Avraham smashing the idols in his father’s store: I was missing the neurotic motor. This is not to say that I am without neuroses, just that the desire to become a high achiever was never part of my script.
A Literary Exploration of S.Y. Agnon’s story, Only Yesterday:
Michal Govrin: Agnon conveys with delicate and biting irony his anti-zealous message, a multivocal message. And perhaps it is the miracle of Hanukkah, which has not been emptied of its oil: the ability to laugh even at the shake-ups of belief and history.
We make a mockery of Jewish tradition when we draw inaccurately on our sources to make claims about kashrut…Ethics is ethics; kashrut is kashrut.
What are the ramifications of Jewish insularity in the U.S.? Are there times when Jews in America should follow halakhah rather than secular law? What are they? What role does the memory of trauma serve in your life and community?