Menachem Mendel

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New Book on Eliezer Berkowitz

Eliezer berkowitz halakhah

2 Responses to “New Book on Eliezer Berkowitz”

  1. 1

    He’s something of a forgotten figure, isn’t he, Dr. Berkowitz zl? In the early to mid 80s, you could hardly open a Tradition magazine without seeing some sort of article devoted to Berkowitz. Nowadays, as articles on Jewish philosophy generally have waned, articles about Berkowitz have followed suit. Intressante.

  2. 2

    Berkovits. For an online discussion on another blog, I typed in most of the forward to his out-of-print _Jewish_Women_in_Time_and_Torah_(Ktav, 1990) that I attach for those interested.


    It is not our intention in this work to plead the cause of Jewish women against the numerous Jewish laws that today are rightly considered unfair or even unjust; nor do we intend to defend Judaism against criticism for its treatment of women. The aim is neither to be critical nor to be apologetic; but on the basis of our understanding to unravel the truth, from the aggadic and halakhic sources, of some of the fundamental principles of Judaism.

    If we seek truth and understanding, we must realize that because we are living in a different era, we may not be in a position to evaluate the significance of the mores and laws that appear in the traditional Jewish sources. The changes since biblical and talmudic times have been radical. Women and men today are not the same as the women and men who lived, worked, planned, and hoped many centuries ago. Conditions of life, reality, social order, aspirations, and goals have changed fundamentally. If we criticize, we may not know what we criticize; if we defend, we may have no idea what we defend. However, awareness of the changes over tirne is not enough. One must also have an adequate understanding of the system of Judaism as it treats the time-conditioned reality of the life of the people.

    There were essentially three distinct phases in the evolving status of Jewish women. The first phase was Torah-tolerated rather than Torah-established or Torah-taught. It derived from the mores, conditions, and circumstances of an early age, and was not essentially different from what we find in other societies in the same stage of development. Women’s status in this era was nonpersonal. While it could not be changed overnight by legislation, certain limited changes were effected to indicate the direction of the kind of development the Torah desired. The second phase established woman’s personal status. And finally, in our discussion of the third phase, we attempt to clarify some of the consequences of the Torah-teaching and halakhic principles for the present status of women.




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