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Reflections on Jewish Culture, No. 13

Dr. Inbar Raveh on feminist research into rabbinic literature, Professors Avi Sagi and Menachem Lorberbaum on the concept of revolution and its place in the Jewish world, and more. Read for free. Subscribe for free.

On Revolutions and the Jews

Is it coincidental that Jews had an important role in several major revolutions of the modern era or are Jews just prone to revolutions? Does Jewish culture recognize the possibility of revolution and possibly even encourage it, or is revolutionary consciousness foreign to Jewish culture? In light of the wave of revolution in the Arab world, Professors Avi Sagi and Menachem Lorberbaum discuss the concept of revolution and its place in the Jewish world – from the period of the Bible through the beginning of the Zionist era to today.

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Women: A Nation of Their Own

Aggadic literature is one of the central places that defines Jewish gender identity. Reading these texts through a gender-related lens enables us to understand the image of the woman that the Sages instilled in Jewish culture. Dr. Inbar Raveh writes about feminist research into rabbinic literature and about the balance between a critical reading of the texts and an appreciation of their charm.

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Midrash Tannaim: Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash by Daniel Boyarin

Professor Daniel Boyarin’s book Midrash Tannaim: Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash attempts to answer a question that has occupied Jewish culture since the Middle Ages: How is one meant to understand the Midrash and Is it possible to relate to it as biblical exegesis?

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Rabbi Yaakov Emdan: What Happens to the Father Happens to the Son

Few rabbis have been willing to open up their inner, personal worlds like the exceptional character of Rabbi Yaakov Emdan, one of the most important rabbis of the 18th century. On the one hand, he staunchly defended the tradition and hounded those he considered to be steering away from it. On the other, he is considered to bone of the forerunners of the Jewish Enlightenment. Dr. Eli Freiman writes about Emdan and his unique autobiography in which he exposes his personal life and his motives for public activity.

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What is the precise definition of the emotion “compassion”? Is there a difference between compassion and pity? Vadim Kelebeyev writes about the different characteristics of compassion, about the complex attempts to define it, and about its various appearances in Jewish culture.

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