Author Archives: Josh

Barack Obama’s Revelation

Carl Schmitt famously interrupted the workaday realities of politics with the hierophany of “the political.” Ensconced within the mysterious realm of the definite article, Schmitt’s political offered a stormy rejoinder to the processual sterility of liberal politicking. This Romantic alternative … Continue reading

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Moshe David Valle Bites the Bullet

Recently, the New Yorker discussed a peculiar American institution. Jill Lepore’s article on the second amendment yokes a sickening feeling over our bristling-with-arms culture to a history chronicling the Amendment’s recent miraculous growth. The analysis is anything but dispassionate. Of … Continue reading

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Passover and Avodah be-Gashmiyut

Reading my new Haggadah, I am struck by how it depicts Hasidism as an attempt to bring Jewish popular practice into the ambit of traditional Jewish metaphysics and Kabbalah. Haggadah Siach Tzadikim (2010) collects “beautiful words of jest from the … Continue reading

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Zohar (11/2/2011)

I am going to occasionally blog on the Zohar in conjunction with the Zohar Haburah I am running here in Boston. If you are interested in joining the group, feel free to reach out to me.  Text available here, and here … Continue reading

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uniting heaven and earth: yohanan petrovsky shtern

The Pardes Yosef Hachadash suggests at least eleven possible interpretations of the “earth” and “heavens” in the initial verse of Parshat Haazinu. All the cases obviously identify a yawning gap—from that between the tzaddik and the man on the street … Continue reading

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yoni garb: kabbalizing modernity

An exciting scholar at the Hebrew University, Yoni Garb seeks to modernize Kabbalah scholarship. As he says in his recent article in Modern Judaism “There is no time like the present for calling attention to the emergence of a new … Continue reading

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jewish new historicism: magid and lachter

From its inception, Chakira has devoted inordinate energy to the idea that paradigm shifts are overrated. Why not have actual insights rather than methodological coups de grace? Why conquer Iraq with shock and awe only to get ground down in … Continue reading

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contemporary hypernomianism

Antinomianism used to be able to draw a crowd. Just look at the pile up of books in Jewish Studies devoted to the topic from Shaul Magid’s Hasidism on the Margin (2003) to Elliot Wolfson’s Venturing Beyond (2006) in the … Continue reading

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on deep history and the brain: red herrings of metaphysical bugbears

Red herrings of metaphysical bugbears—this idiomatic whirlpool describes somewhat too well the back and forth sallying of paradigms in the human sciences. One recent addition to paradigm shifting, mind-blowing books (as a genre, not an adjective) , On Deep History and … Continue reading

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shelo asani isha: the real problem

Many recent kerfuffles have no compelling reason to be a kerfuffle, and even less to be recent. Among these we can count the reigniting of the controversy over the blessing of Shelo asani isha. Last month, a Rabbi in LA … Continue reading

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