Books and Essays on Torah and Society
(Link takes you offsite.) A Substack publication dedicated to using investigative journalism tools to explore what works in the Orthodox community and what doesn’t.
Thoughts and resources related to understanding Torah, Jews, society, and life through the works of Rabbi Hirsch. These include online books on finding a place for Hirsch’s Torah within daily life and a sometimes contentious Jewish world.
The world at large sings the praises of the beauty and profundity of Isaiah’s great teachings. Jewish tradition assigns the prophet’s words very great authority. Primary Torah sources draw on his wisdom to illuminate the most sensitive and critical matters.
But understanding the book is certainly not easy. Even identifying its themes requires making significant and difficult procedural choices. With which interpretation of Isaiah should we work? Many – if not most – passages are complex and ambiguous enough to allow for multiple translations. More than that, the precise subjects of many of Isaiah’s analogies and the targets of much of his criticism are disputed even among Judaism’s traditional commentators (to which I restricted myself in this project).
What we need is a comprehensive methodology. These essays are the product of one such system.
The great prophets gave flesh to the bones of The Law. They showed us that, beyond simply doing what is right, we should aspire to greatness. They showed us how our daily interactions with elements of the world around us – whether human, animal or the very soil beneath our feet – must be infused with a thirst for justice and a love for all creation. But the principles and attitudes to which they hint – ever at risk of becoming lost beneath the sheer weight of their breadth and subtlety – are clarified and organized by the various collections of midrash.
While remaining passionately loyal to traditional Jewish thinking, this book offers new thoughts about specific – and often well known – midrashic passages, along with more general guidance: what’s a student to do when faced with a midrash whose simple reading is patently deceptive? What about one filled with unnecessary characters, complicating what by all rights should be straightforward? And what about theological contradictions? Since the authors of the midrash obviously knew better, these calculated “errors” are clearly designed to teach.
Now it’s time to learn…
Accountable – a Torah Guide to Fiscal Responsibility
Curious about money and wonder how Chazal – whose advice touched all areas of human life – expected us to handle our wealth? Worried about your financial future? Already struggling with heavy expenses and troubling debt? Searching for a plan to slow down and stop the slide towards disaster…and eventually reverse it?
The Torah has a great many wise things to say about financial health. “Accountable” contains at least some of that wisdom, along with practical guidance and discussions of some key related Torah principles.
Mikdash – A Tour of Jerusalem’s Second Temple
Essays and CAD-generated images on the historical and religious significance of Jerusalem’s Temple (the “Bais Hamikdash”).
What was the Temple meant to accomplish? What made it so central to Jewish culture that, thousands of years since it’s loss, the Mikdash still looms large?
The insights into the Temple’s structure and history you will find in “Mikdash” should help answer those questions, or at least get you started on your own course of study.
4 replies on “Marbitz .com”
Hello, I am inquiring for a blind friend who would like to obtain a digital version (audio book or recording) of Samson Rafael Hirsch’s commentary on Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Does anything like this exist? I noticed a mention of a video on your site but it doesn’t link to anything. I’d be interested in any reference you could provide to videos as well.
I’m afraid I’m not aware of a full audio version of the Hirsch commentary. The links to a half a dozen or so videos I made some years ago should work from here. But that’s not really what you’re looking for.
I’ll try to see if I can track down something better for you.
The Gemara Game takes me to “Bootstrap it”
Is there anyway to access the game? I really enjoyed it.
There was a bad link. It should be fixed now. Let me know if you have any trouble.