Volume # 0

Fall 2000(5761)

In this issue

Zoo Torateinu

Several years ago, I began researching, lecturing and writing about the interplay between Torah and the natural world. In the last class that I taught, I found it necessary to have an additional teacher present to write on the blackboard. I would have done it myself, but I was all tied up. To be specific, I was tied up by a twelve-foot python. It’s rather annoying when that happens; the heavy coils are draped all around you and it’s almost impossible to move. I guess every job has its peeves.


Dressing Up For Yom Tov

With the High Holidays on the horizon, we are all on the look-out for special recipes that will dress up our Yom Tov fish, chicken or beef. Because it is hard to predict exactly what time synagogue services will end or guests will arrive, I prefer to cook my meats first and then add an extra special sauce before serving.

Jewish Culture

What Do Rabbis Talk About?

The numerous sessions devoted to improving Jewish marriages and family life held at the recent Rabbinical Council of America convention reflect the pressing issues of our community as well as the efforts of the rabbinical organization to address them. In fact, a glance at highlights of the program of this year’s RCA convention, compared to that of the same rabbinic organization some 50 years ago yields some fascinating similarities and differences. How have Orthodox concerns in America changed?


Improving Chatan/Kallah Education: A Piece of C.A.K.E.

A young couple came to my office for marital counseling three months after their wedding. They were obviously unhappy newlyweds and quite distressed about their situation. A half hour into the session the husband related to me that he did not feel that this marriage could last more than another six months, at most. Issues such as overbearing, intrusive parents and unrealistic expectations on both sides had plagued their brief marriage to the extent that they were both contemplating divorce.


The Sukkah: Our Eternal Reminder

The bitter servitude of the Egyptian exile profoundly diminished the spiritual awareness and level of the Jewish people. In the words of the Rambam, (Laws of Idolatry, 1:3), “The root that Abraham had planted was almost entirely destroyed and the children of Yaakov were on the verge of reverting back to the idolatry of the nations.”


The Happy, Well-Adjusted Orthodox Dropout

Let’s face the facts: across the board, in every sector of American Orthodoxy, our schools are losing a large number of our children. All too often, our young people don’t want to be religious, nor do they see any reason why anyone should be.


Rabbi Joseph Wanefsky, z”l

Reb Yosef once arrived at the Gottesman Library lively with the information that a new beeping device enabled blind people to go skiing. “Now,” he chuckled, “there are blind people who ski, and there are blind people who learn Gemara.”

Science & Technology

Connecting to a Higher Place

“When Mashiach comes, the final topic he will study before commencing his mission will be the Torah of Rav Kook.” With these words, Gary Sternberg explains his own, much more modest mission. Sternberg, a young graphics designer for, has long been involved in attempts to bring the insights of Jewish spirituality to a world thirsting for, and ignorant of, their profound beauty.


The Rav

The appearance of Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff’s The Rav: The World of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik focused my attention on a paradox that confronts me every time a new book or article appears about the saintly Rabbi Soloveitchik, zt”l.


The Religious Thought of Hasidism

This is a monumental work for the study of Hasidism. It is written by Rabbi Norman Lamm, whose scholarly accomplishments are well known, with the assistance of Alan Brill, an outstanding scholar of Hasidism, and Shalom Carmy, one of Orthodoxy’s most prominent thinkers. The work presents us with a detailed review of Hasidic thought, with its major focus on early Hasidism.


Between the Yeshiva World and Modern Orthodoxy

This is a fascinating biography of an extraordinary man, who lived through, and left a remarkable imprint upon, tumultuous periods of Jewish history. Although I never met Rabbi Weinberg, I did learn something of him from my uncle, Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Berkovits, who was his talmid muvhak [close disciple]. And I well remember the powerful impact that his Teshuvot Seridei Eish [book of responsa] made upon me.