The following is the original text of an important lecture delivered by Professor Louis Rene Beres to the Dayan Forum, Israel, on March 11, 1994 (Ambassador Zalman Shoval, presiding). It remains entirely relevant today, especially with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's: (1) recent release of Palestinian terrorists as a "goodwill gesture;" (2) the Prime Minister's equally incomprehensible support of one murderous terrorist faction (Fatah) against another (Hamas); and his corollary commitment to the altogether twisted cartography of a markedly one-sided "Road Map."
While the book was of great interest to those struggling with conflicts between Torah and science, and aroused considerable controversy in some quarters, it turned out that those most passionate about the book were of a different group: Harry Potter readers.
We just observed Tisha B’Av, the day we mourn the destruction of our Holy Temple. With the Holocaust being so recent and such an enormity, I could not help but turn my attention to it as I contemplated the destruction that has befallen the Jewish people over the millennia. In particular, I thought about what happened to my father-in-law on that day many years ago, as well as the events leading up to it. Its message is timeless.
Initially, Professor Noah Feldman’s “Orthodox Paradox,” an article appearing in the July 22 issue of The New York Times Magazine, may seem entertaining. But on further reading, a very disturbing message emerges – a message that calls into serious question the intent of the author and the judgment of The New York Times in publishing the piece.
This past Sunday evening I received a frantic call from a close friend, a 52-year-old father and grandfather who has spent the past 27 summers in the Monticello area. He pleaded with me to inform the frum public of what his eyes had seen – and his heart simply did not want to believe.
Nothing is more elusive than perfection, yet perfection is a notion that frequently surfaces in the realm of shidduchim. For example, singles are often told by people on the outermost fringes of their lives, “I know someone perfect for you.” How preposterous, how presumptuous! Yet singles permit themselves to be excited by this declaration so that they may be further disillusioned when the shidduch invariably turns out to be anything but perfect.
Ayatollahs in business suits is what Noah Feldman would have the world believe we all are. If the Orthodox were going to leave him out of his alma mater’s reunion picture just because he married out, then Noah Feldman was going to out the Orthodox.
Forgive the Monitor a little self-indulgence this week. In its May 14 issue, Newsweek magazine published a chapter from historian Michael Beschloss’s new book, Presidential Courage (Simon & Schuster). The excerpt centered on Harry Truman’s role in the establishment of Israel, and Beschloss had no compunction about highlighting Truman’s nasty anti-Semitic streak or that after leaving office Truman admitted to the late television impresario David Susskind that his wife, Bess, had never allowed a Jew into their Independence, Missouri home.
We Jews know a terrorist when we see one. Surely we don't need the elegant refinements of international law to help us distinguish a suicide bomber from a freedom fighter. If it looks like a duck Nothing could possibly be easier to understand.
In the long run, history may take a kinder view of George W. Bush’s presidency than that of the majority of the American people who now see him as a failure. But anyone in Washington who thinks that he can boost his poll ratings or score a foreign-policy triumph on the heels of the Arab-Israeli conflict to divert attention away from Iraq is just dreaming.
In New York last Wednesday for an emergency fundraising dinner, Manhigut Yehudit leader Moshe Feiglin – one of three candidates running in the Likud party’s August 14 primaries – expressed tentative hope regarding his prospects. While he would consider anything above 20 or 25 percent a success, Feiglin said “we are in this race to win … and this miracle can really happen if we work hard.”
About The New York Times it has been possible for a number of years now to declare, comfortably and without risk of contradiction, that relying on the once-formidable newspaper as one’s sole, or even primary, source of information can be hazardous to one’s intellectual health.
Jorge Luis Borges sometimes happily identified himself as a sort of Jew. Although without any apparent basis in Halachah, he obviously felt himself a deeply kindred spirit: "Many a time I think of myself as a Jew," he is quoted in Willis Barnstone's Borges At Eighty: Conversations (1982), "but I wonder whether I have the right to think so. It may be wishful thinking."
Not long ago posters appeared in a number of synagogues in Brooklyn banning a recently published book that, according to the posters, contained misleading halachic rulings.