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Headlines: Halachic Debates of Current Events
By Dovid Lichtenstein
OU Press

 

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World events influence the life of every Jew. Today we are inundated with headlines in real time, along with constant up-to-the-minute updates. Though we pride ourselves as being in touch, the overwhelming amounts of information we receive often leave us out of touch with the meaning of it all.

Headlines, by Dovid Lichtenstein, discusses in-depth Torah views on current events and their halachic ramifications – from Hurricane Sandy and 9/11 to Obamacare; from ethical conundrums like Internet use and copying discs without permission to discrimination, family issues, and prevailing problems such as fraud and child abuse. It gives us the opportunity to see both present-day and future newsworthy happenings through the prism of Torah and halachah.

If some view reading newspapers as bitul Torah, Headlines renders the concern superfluous. Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.

The author, a successful business man and talmid chacham, prefaces the book with an introduction that not only justifies its significance but validates our need to be aware of and involved in current events. If the Jewish people are to enlighten the world, we need to combine the voice of Yaakov with the hands of Esav, as Yosef Hatzaddik did; we must bring tikkun olam by applying the dictums of Torah to both international and local affairs.

Modern life is very different from Talmudic times…or is it? Dovid Lichtenstein provides answers to the following questions that have their basis in the Talmud:

* Is a rabbi allowed to attend the president’s inauguration if it’s held in a church or cathedral?

* Are Jewish leaders permitted to hand over to the gentile authorities someone who is a danger to the Jewish community?

* Is having an Internet filter a stringency or an outright halachah?

* Is there an obligation to rescue people who ignored evacuation warnings during Hurricane Sandy?

* Is it permissible to shoot down a hijacked plane, thereby sacrificing the lives of many, in order to save the lives of a few?

Headlines can be read from start to finish or used in parts as a reference guide. It’s an invaluable and heretofore neglected treatise on the incidents that shape our world. It brings a Torah viewpoint to current events, thus reinforcing the relevance of daas Torah in our times.

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