The Latest Issue Of ‘Tradition’ Magazine

Rabbi Gil Student writes:

A new issue has been published of Tradition vol. 1 no. 4, Winter 2008:

  • Homer and the Bible by R. Shalom Carmy — Criticizing those who try to impress and excite readers/listeners by being controversial. To my knowledge, the first use of Homer Simpson in a Torah journal.
  • The Living Wage and Jewish Law by R. Dr. Aaron Levine — Shows that Jewish law does not support Living Wage legislation. Dismisses Conservative Rabbi Jill Jacobs’ arguments in favor of it. Points out that Living Wage legislation: 1) addresses the individual and not the household, 2) is a tax on employers rather than one that is proportional to wealth, 3) an increase in wages will yield a correponding decrease in anti-poverty benefits that depend on income, 4) has disemployment effects. Instead supports the Earned Income Tax Credit. Also see these post: I, II, III
  • Click here to read more

  • Halakhic Issues Presented by Breast Cancer by Naomi Englard-Schaffer and Dr. Deena Zimmerman — Discussion of nidah, mikvah, birth control and tattooing as it relates to treatment of breast cancer.
  • Survey of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature: Blood Sugar Tests & Use of Viagra on Shabbat by R. J. David Bleich — Strongly advocates diabetics testing blood sugar level on Shabbos but discusses whether certain methods that minimize the amount of blood used are preferable. Also discusses the arguments against using Viagra and similar drugs on Shabbos and concludes that it is permissible.
  • Review Essay: A Modern Midrash Moshe – Methodological Considerations by R. Hayyim Angel — Can Midrash become binding? Is R. Mosheh Lichtenstein’s analysis of Moshe’s career in his book (link) the final word? R. Hayyim Angel’s answer: No.
  • Digesting the Exodus Narrative – Rav Soloveitchik’s Approach to the Seder Eve by Daniel Wolf — A detailed and insightful review of Festival of Freedom.
  • Book Review: Neehaz Be-Sevakh by R. Chaim Navon and Ve-Hayu la-Ahadim be-Yadekha by R. Yuval Cherlow by Mali Brofsky — Summary: R. Navon’s book is a good introduction to R. Soloveitchik’s thought, R. Cherlow’s book is a Kookian look at R. Soloveitchik. Both sound interesting but the latter sounds fascinating.
  • Communications: Music During Sefirah and the Three Weeks by R. Nathaniel Helfgot and R. Moshe Bleich — R. Nati says that Rav Soloveitchik permitted listening to taped music during the Three Weeks and Sefirah. R. Bleich questions this report and points out that most authorities disagree. However, I can attest that "everyone knows" that Rav Soloveitchik permitted it. And, I’ve been told, so did R. Yitzchak Hutner.

Talmid writes: "Rabbi Feldman used to have a shiur that he would give to NCSY groups called "The Simpsons in Halacha" or something like that. Both are incredible in their ability to relate to people of all types and ages in spite of the fact that both have extraordinary brains."

MICHA POSTS: "I find RSCarmy’s topic interesting. Much of Tradition itself contains such articles. Perhaps not by using something curiosity-provoking like dragging in Homer Simpson, but many theses are presented for their controversiality. For that matter, an oddball presentation of an idea the author would believe either way is less problematic, rather than a contrarian who likes an idea because it startles."

YUngerman writes: "My mother went to Stern in the 70’s and said that she asked RAL about listening to music during sefira. He replied that sefira is a public mourning and, as such, listening to music in the privacy of one’s dorm room is permitted."

Moshe writes: "Does Jewish law really have a position on the living wage law? or is there simply a legitimate disagreement between economists and policy makers. I think no good is served by suggesting that the halacha supports a particular parties agenda. God is not a Republican or a Democrat."

ANON WRITES: "I found it interesting that 3 of the 6 articles in Tradition were written by Americans who made aliya (Zimmerman, Wolf, Brofsky), and the 4th was a review of a book by an American who made aliya (Rabbi M Lichtenstein). What does this say about MO in America?"

MICHA WRITES: "Well, aliyah is a much more central part of MO ideal than in any other community. And one would think that idealists are more likely to be capable of writing articles, both in knowledge and in making time. One would therefore think that there would be some heightened correlation between olim and Tradition contributors."

TRADITION WRITES: "Maybe because the active editors, all students of R. Carmy, live in Israel (Blau, Sacks, and Ziegler)- and two of them live on the same block as Brofsky and Wolf!"

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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