Monthly Archives: August 2015

What We Owe to Past, Present, and Future

What do we owe to people who lived in the past and are now dead? What do we owe to people now living? What do we owe to people in generations yet to come? And perhaps most important: What is … Continue reading

Posted in Jewish Philosophy, Judaism, Modern Orthodoxy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Natalie Portman, Loyalty, and the Holocaust

My new blog post for The Times of Israel: By N.S. Palmer Israeli actress Natalie Portman received harsh criticism for suggesting last week that the Holocaust was not unique and that it should be less emphasized in Jewish education. Actually, … Continue reading

Posted in Judaism, The Times of Israel | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All People Are Equal — Mostly

All human beings are equal. Let’s agree on that. But we must add a qualification: All human beings are equal in the morally relevant sense. They might or might not be equal in other ways. Let me tell you about … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Choosing to be Chosen

In most creation myths, an essential part of creating is to divide things from each other, thereby bringing order from chaos. In Genesis, God divides light from darkness, the waters above the firmament from waters below the firmament, and the … Continue reading

Posted in Jewish Philosophy, Judaism, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Must We Believe?

By N.S. Palmer Are certain beliefs required to be a Jew in good standing? Moses Maimonides says yes. Moses Mendelssohn says no. (And yes. And no. Mendelssohn was all over the map on that issue.) Among religious Jews, Maimonides is … Continue reading

Posted in Epistemology, Jewish Philosophy, Judaism, Modern Orthodoxy, Philosophy, The Times of Israel | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maimonides and Keeping the Commandments

By N.S. Palmer “God rewards those who perform the commandments of the Torah and punishes those who transgress its admonitions.”1 The Jewish sage Maimonides called that an essential tenet of our faith. But there’s something a little odd about it. … Continue reading

Posted in Epistemology, Jewish Philosophy, Judaism, Modern Orthodoxy, Philosophy, The Times of Israel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment