Early Open Thread Sunday

We have already made mention of the fact that classes on faith should avoid medieval “proofs” of God (and probably “proofs” of Torah composition). We should be primarily bringing thinkers who came after Kant and who deal with a reality of permanent agnosticism (in the sense that God cannot be proven, only intuited and felt). However, there are many thinkers whom we deliberately eschew because they held non-Orthodox positions, even though their insights are invaluable for believers in God of any stripe. In light of this, I would like to ask the following:

Should Machshevet Yisra’el classes include the (safer) works of thinkers like Heschel, Rozenzweig and Levinas? If so, at what age and in what context?


Hi, my name is Avi Woolf. I'm an American-Israeli MO Jew living in Israel. I have a background in Israeli (as in Land of Israel) and Jewish History and an insatiable need for knowledge. I also have professional experience as an editor, translator and indexer. Enjoy the ride! If you are interested in using my services or just want to drop me a line, contact me at: opdycke1861NOSPAM@yahoo.com
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4 Responses to Early Open Thread Sunday

  1. fred says:

    i wonder if machshevet yisrael should be taught at all. i mean, what is it? care to define?

    • AIWAC says:

      The subject of “what exactly is machshevet yisra’el” is a matter for a whole ‘nother post? (Interested? If so, I’ll try and put one up next week)

      As for WHY it should be taught (by whatever definition), I’d say the ever-growing phenomenon of OTD, Orthoprax and RBO pretty much sums it up for me.

      • fred says:

        well, we cant really discuss whether we should teach it if we dont define it, right?
        and as i believe i have previously mentioned, i do not think it is so much philosophical problems which make for otd etc. as it is social/communal/role model shortcomings. please, read or peruse faranak margoleses book otd. it is not without its shortcomings, but her book has merit. also, see a response to r aaron lichtenstein. al was closer to your position, and the respondant said, i believe rightfully, that this was hardly the issue [i believe the exchange was in a jewish action around 10 years ago.]

      • AIWAC says:

        Fair enough. I’m going through some reading material (esp. atid) to try and understand the matter myself.

        I read Margolese cover to cover. I agree that emotional/social issues are primary. Nevertheless, even according to her, intellectual challenges are a powerful factor, even if a secondary one, and they certainly can’t be ignored.

        In any event, none of this is germane until I finish my research (which includes a study that attacks Machshevet Yisrael as currently taught as being irrelevant to high school students’ religious growth).

        You never know. I may yet change my mind and end up agreeing with you :).

        Chanukah Sameach


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