A true Jewish mystic doesn’t need to use hype or self-promotion like Rabbi Yitzchak Batzri’s snake-oil charms. Any self-respecting Kabbalist shouldn’t live for the next photo-op.
Martin Buber has always been a great inspiration to me. His views on Jewish mysticism are grounded in the interpersonal realm of the ethical. We meet God when we respect the Other who is before us. Emmanuel Levinas expresses a similar thought in many of his writings as well, but Buber still remains my favorite.
Yesterday, I began teaching a new miniseries at St. Ambrose College on the Seven Deadly Sins. With thirty + students in the class, we had some great discussions. One of the assignments I gave the students was to think about composing a more modern list of the Seven Deadly Sins. Well, I started composing my own list and at the chief of the list today, I would have to say misogyny probably is one of the most serious sins of ...
Maimonides’ famous Iggerot Hashmad (“A Letter Concerning Apostasy”) was written in the year 1160 during a time when Almohades Muslims were forcing people everywhere to recite the Muslim Creed. Failure to comply meant execution.
One rabbinical scholar in Fez, Morocco exclaimed that any Jew who publicly uttered the Moslim confession–regardless whether they in truth practiced Judaism incognito—could no longer be considered a Jew. Outraged by this rabbi’s insensitive rabbinical response, Maimonides wrote a letter, where he demonstrates how this Moroccan rabbi ...