Archive for 'Stories for the Searching Heart'

Solomon Maimon’s 18th Century Critique of the Early Hasidim (Part 1)

Byline Dec. 25th 2009–4:00 PM

Solomon Maimon was one of the greatest Jewish thinkers of the 18th century; not only did he expound the teachings of Maimonides’ famous Guide to the Perplexed in new but contemporary terms, he also established himself as one of Immanuel Kant’s foremost intellectual critics.

For our purposes now, we shall examine Maimon’s autobiographical tale about his encounter with the Hassidic court of Rabbi Dov Baer of Meseritz.

Our story begins with an encounter Maimon had with a ...

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Overcoming Infidelity–Learning to Forgive

In our self-righteousness, sometimes we lose sight of how we inadvertently push the people we claim to love away. Here is a wise tale for those who struggle with this issue. I rewrote the parable to give it a more Jewish flavor, but the message is truly universal. Letting go of anger is never easy; its toxic poison blinds our soul from seeing reality as it truly is. More often than not, we get stuck in anger; we want to ...

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The Meaning of PaRDeS: The Four Levels of Scriptural Interpretation

One of the most important hermeneutical paradigms introduced by the early and medieval rabbis is a belief that the Scriptures contain more than one layer of exegetical meaning. This intertextual approach came to be known during the medieval era by the acronym  פַּרְדֵּס”PaRDeS,” standing for “Peshat,” “Remaz,” “Derash,” and “Sod.” Briefly defined, peshat is based on the literal and factual meaning of a verse[1] and roughly corresponds to the medieval concept of sensus literalis as developed by the medieval ...

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