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Heschel, Hasidism, and Halakha$
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Samuel Dresner

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780823221158

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823221158.001.0001

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(p.84) 3 Halakha
Heschel, Hasidism, and Halakha

Samuel H. Dresner

Fordham University Press

This chapter illustrates how Heschel confronted the central issue of Jewish observance. Noting that Judaism and Jewish people will survive only if the authority of religious law is taken seriously, it considers Heschel's support for the tradition while recognizing the frailty of today's spiritual seekers. After carefully surveying Heschel's views and writings on Jewish law, it attempts to formulate a golden mean for contemporary Jewish practice. It presents some of the essentials of Heschel's defense of the halakha. It also discusses the limits of halakha; responsibilities beyond the Law; morality and the Law; religious behaviorism; pan-halakhism; the mobility of the Law; the fallacy of fundamentalism; the danger of atomization; a theology of aggada; and the polarity of halakha and aggada.

Keywords:   Jewish practice, religious law, halakha, polarity, aggada, Conservative Judaism

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