Naḥmanides’ commentary on the Torah, in which he combined literal, midrashic, and kabbalistic comments side by side, is one of the best known and most influential exegetical works of the Middle Ages. This article concentrates on the esoteric exegesis in this commentary and argues that Naḥmanides’ kabbalistic interpretation employs two types of exegesis—perush and remez—each of which represents a separate hermeneutic approach and thus a different reading of the biblical text. Focusing on the innovative and less familiar remez approach, the article describes its essence, characteristics, and the historical context of its emergence.
Raymond L. Weiss
Contemporary study of Jewish secularism in the Modern era has yielded a nuanced picture of Hebrew secularism. This article analyzes the emergence of a rich and diverse cultural infrastructure of Hebrew secularism in the first half of the twentieth century from a philosophical perspective, proposing a typology of models of Hebrew secularism. These models are characterized by their attitudes to what, following Charles Taylor, can be referred to as the “fragmentary character” of religious existence in the secular age. The conclusion reflects on the limitations of the proposed typology and identifies further avenues for the philosophical study of Hebrew secularism.
Joseph (Yossi) Turner
This paper examines the tension between philosophy and praxis in the thought of Aaron David Gordon. Highlighting the methodical character of Gordon’s philosophical understanding of human existence in terms of “man-in-nature,” I attempt to show that while his philosophy was initially meant to influence the construction of society and culture in the Land of Israel at the beginning of the twentieth century, it is particularly relevant with regard to contemporary philosophical questions concerning Jewish and human existence in every area in which the concept of humanity plays a central role, such as education, conservation, social justice, and international relations.
One of the more astounding books produced by Bratslav Hasidism is Liqquṭei tefilot (1822–1827), composed by R. Nathan Sternhartz of Nemirov, which established a whole new genre in Bratslav literature. This article discusses the book’s genesis, publication, and primary goals, as well as the controversy it generated. The new Bratslav theology that emerged after the death of Rabbi Naḥman led to disputes, both internal and external, over the role and character of R. Nathan. Examining this particularly obscure chapter in the early history of Bratslav Hasidism sheds light on the movement as it exists today in all its diversity, both ideological and social.