Divrei ben Abuya

In the Babylonian Talmud, Elisha ben Abuya was a great sage who lost his faith in God. So great was he that his and subsequent generations continued learning from him - to the extent that the authors of the Talmud needed to create a story that would serve to legitimise his teachings despite his apostasy. His lesson is a lesson for us all: that great stature is not contingent upon blind faith, nor high learning upon the observation of Torah precepts.

July 03, 2006

Barukh Dayan HaEmeth

The founder of the English branch of the Conservative movement, Rabbi Louis Jacobs zt"l, passed away on Shabbat. The author of over fifteen important works (one of the greatest of which was We Have Reason to Believe), Rabbi Jacobs was nominated in 1961 to be the successor of Rabbi Isidore Epstein, the principal of Jews' College, London. Due to the controversy generated by his published opinions - controversy that culminated in his founding of the English Conservative Movement - Rabbi Jacobs' recommendation was ultimately vetoed. Prior to the rejection of his scholarship by the mainstream orthodox establishment, it was also rumoured that Rabbi Jacobs would have served as a candidate for the next chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth, after the then serving Rabbi Israel Brodie.


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