Bryna Jocheved Levy In 1914, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, who would later become the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of the State of Israel, visited the National Gallery in London. His aesthetic sensibilities were aroused by the artistic grandeur that he encountered there. He was particularly transfixed by Rembrandt’s paintings: “…the light in his pictures is
Sarah [PENINA ADELMAN] Thank You for waking me up again on another day of your creation. Thank You for Your spirit that makes the air fresh. Thank You for lighting up the world with the sun and calling on the insects and the birds to begin their music. You infuse this day with possibility. You
Faith and Ethics
A Roundtable with Sharon Brous, Dov Linzer, Josh Kornbluth & Jeffrey Helmreich: Can you imagine God commanding you to do something terrible? Traditional Judaic sources may, at times, offend us morally. For example, we might take offense at the biblical treatment of homosexuals or civilian Amalekites. How do you reconcile these morally challenging sources with continued reverence for tradition?
There was a time when I could not read the story of the binding of Isaac without wishing for a different ending — that Abraham would stand up to God, refusing to harm his son.
More than any biblical narrative, the story of the binding of Isaac has become a focal trope in Zionist thought and Hebrew letters. Most Israelis appreciate the binding as the metaphor for national sacrifice, and hence Isaac naturally stands for Israel’s fallen warriors.
Shaul Magid Largely focusing on Hebrew scripture as its foundation for presenting its views, Hasidic literature views the Akedah as a template for worship. While most modern readers critically view this story from a Kantian perspective — how a benevolent God who forbids murder could command human sacrifice and how Abraham could be a model
Joshua Holo The dense, taut style of the Akedah’s narration seems to reflect the religious tension of its content. Perhaps unsurprisingly, each of the three monotheistic faiths picks up on and plays into that tension to make very pointed religious claims. Judaism and Christianity, in particular, interpret the story in such a way as to
Sarah Imhoff Biblical scholars explain that the story of the Akedah marks a turning point from ancient Near Eastern cultural traditions that include human sacrifice to a strikingly illustrative polemic against human sacrifice. Do not sacrifice your son, God tells Abraham. But ironically, the very acts that mark this watershed cultural transition away from violence
“So Avraham took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son.” (Genesis 22:13) Rachel Barenblat, Matthew Zapruder, Kathryn Hellerstein, & Yerra Sugarman In this collaborative poem, each poet uses the biblical verse from Genesis 22:13 as inspiration and bases his or her writing on the final line of