Children are natural cosmogonists, for which one of them has never asked, “How did the world begin?” That question is addressed at the very beginning of the Tenakh: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The uniform teaching of the Scriptures is that God alone creates. The verb used in the first verse of the Bible, bara’, is always predicated of God alone, who also formed man from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7).
Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995 Levinas, French philosopher and Talmudic commentator, was born in Kaunas, Lithuania. He first studied at the University of Strasbourg, France (1923-28), and then under Edmund Husserl in Freiburg, Germany (1928-29). There Levinas also met Martin Heidegger whose thoughts, especially Being and Time (1927), had a lasting influence on him.In France, Levinas became one of the most esteemed philosophers of the post-World War II period. His impact on the English-speaking world, however, was only felt shortly before his death.
Let us eat and drink . . . for tomorrow we die” (Isaiah 22:13 NIV).
What is this quest for health? Health is the quest for life, for a longer, fuller life. It is something we work for. It is also something which is supposed to last. What we seek in health is permanence, longevity. Health is finally something we sacrifice for. It is a discipline; it is asceticism.
The book of Ecclesiastes has a totally different outlook on life than our modern conception of health does. Instead of health we find pleasure. Instead of longevity we find the ephemeral.
Joseph Dov Soloveitchik (1903-1993) The renowned Lithuanian Talmudic scholar Rabbi Soloveitchik is looked to in North America as the leader of modern centrist Orthodoxy and was popularly known simply as “the Rav.” His teaching of Jewish philosophy has formed two generations of Orthodox rabbinical students at Yeshiva University in New York. His annual lectures on teshuvah (Repentance) at the convention of the Rabbinical Council of America became the major annual academic event for United States Orthodox Jewry. Soloveitchik was born in Ruzhan, Poland. At the age of 28 he received in 1931 his doctoral degree at the University of Berlin for his dissertation on Hermann Cohen.
Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav (1772-1810) “God is present whenever a peace treaty is signed.” This is one of the aphorisms of the great Hasidic leader Nachman of Breslov, a great-grandson of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (Besht) who is the founder of contemporary Hasidism. Honesty, simplicity, aith, to become physically and spiritually whole—this is the focus of Rebbe Nachman’s teaching, expressed in his massive Likkute Moharan, a collection of sermon and homilies. He is famous and beloved or his beautiful and fantastic stories of princesses, giants, beggars and emperors (the Tales of Rabbi Nachman are praised as one of the classics o Jewish literature).