Philosophy of Rabbi Professor Eliezer Berkovits z”l Part 6: What is Jewish Prayer?

Posted by Rahel Berkovits on April 12, 2016
Topics: Pardes Live, The Thoughts of Rabbi Professor Eliezer Berkovits z”l

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Torat Hayim A Living Torah: The Thoughts of Rabbi Professor Eliezer Berkovits z”l.

In this 6-part lecture series, Rabbi Rahel Berkovits looks at the thoughts of her grandfather, Rabbi Professor Eliezer Berkovits z”l. What is the interplay between Torah and real life situations? How do ancient texts apply to modern times? The philosophy of R. Berkovits will be examined through the lens of his writings on women and Jewish law, conversion and the unity of the Jewish people, the problem of Agunot, a sexual ethic in modern time, and the challenges of Prayer.

This week: What is Jewish Prayer? In this session we will examine another aspect of Berkovits’ philosophy on the relationship between Humans and the Divine as it plays out in religious prayer. How is prayer possible? Can one influence God? Is prayer answered?

“Prayer would seem to be as natural to religion as breathing is to all living things. The overflowing of the heart, which finds its expression in hymns and praises, in intercession or thanks giving, is of the very essence of the life of religion. Religion without prayer is like music without melody, like dark clouds over the sun-parched earth yielding no rain. Yet, Prayer is also religion’s most problematic child.” (Prayer p.7)

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About Rahel Berkovits

Rahel teaches Mishnah, Talmud and Halakha at Pardes. She has spent many years studying Talmud and Jewish texts in both traditional and academic frameworks at Midreshet Lindenbaum, The Shalom Hartman Institute, and Hebrew University in both the Talmud and Jewish education departments. In 2015, Rahel completed her studies at Beit Midrash Har’el and received ordination from Rabbi Herzl Hefter and Rabbi Daniel Sperber. Click here to read more.

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