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Why "Light"?

How a Kaballistic Metaphor Rescues G-d from Theology

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Why History’s Greatest Philosopher Lived in Liadi

I am only a beginner student of philosophy, so when I say the Alter Rebbe is the greatest thinker to ever live, it has nothing of the authority of Yitro, who chose G-d after worshipping all idols on the face of the earth. Really, I am giving a considered opinion that may be wrong but […]

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A Tip For False Farbrengers

I once heard an explanation for why students of Chassidus seem to write fewer works of original Torah thought than those who do not study it. Without Chassidus, you learn a text, find what seems to be a flaw in it, study more, and write an essay rescuing the author from his apparent error. With […]

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How Academic Chassidus Isn’t

Kislev, time of darkness, month of light. We celebrate the flames of Chanukah and the warmth of Pnimius HaTorah, the secrets, the soul. As the Ten Commandments were given in the third month from Nissan, so was the Alter Rebbe freed from prison in the third month from Tishrei, thereby initiating a new epoch in […]

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Douglas Adams Wasn’t An Atheist

“He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” … “Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we […]

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Thank You, Orthodox Jews

Dear frum-from-birth Orthodox Jews (even the ones I know), I’m just writing to say thank you. I am a Baal Teshuva. I did not grow up within the traditional Jewish world. I was brought into it by people like you. And for that, I am eternally grateful. Now, I know you’re waiting for the sucker […]

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Everything You Know About Chassidus Is Wrong

I begin with a confession. Some say they’re involved with Judaism because of its eternal truth, or because it is the tradition that runs in their veins, or because it is the best way to make sense of the world and their place in it. I am involved with Judaism because of the pleasure I […]

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We Have Too Much College Education In Chabad

This piece is part of the series, “Readers Take Over Hevria.” People wanted me to write about “the lack of college education in Chabad communities.” My reaction was, naturally, to disagree. First, a disclaimer: I’m not sure if the readers know, but I have no college education, and it’s sort of Chabad’s fault. I took a gap […]

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My Rebbe Is An Activist, But I’m Not

Even respectable chassidim agree that talk is cheap. I’ve heard them speak about it for hours at farbrengens. However, every respectable chassid also knows that the three garments of the soul, in descending order of truth/reality, are thought, speech, and action. So really, action is cheap. Maybe that’s why Jews love action. Oh, I’m not […]

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The Rebbe, The Chief Rabbi, and The Fossils

In the fall of 1987, the Chief Rabbi of Britain, Rabbi Lord Immanuel Jakobovits of blessed memory, engaged in a short correspondence about something the Lubavitcher Rebbe once wrote. The Chief Rabbi’s position was that, though well-stated and perfectly above-board, the Rebbe’s argument was “simplistic” (which Rabbi Jakobovits claimed is not at all in the […]

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