It was early Monday morning here in the Old City of Jerusalem. We had just finished our minyan in the Rabban Yohanan Ben Zakkai synagogue, the same synagogue where generations of Sephardic Chief Rabbis have been crowned as the Rishon L’Zion. I walked over to the bookcase, and my heart was drawn to a large volume titled “Yabia Omer.” I sat over coffee studying, and when I turned on the radio, I heard that Rav Ovadia Yosef was in critical condition. I spent the morning immersed in “Yabia Omer,” until the bitter news was announced: “Rav Ovadia Yosef has passed on to heaven.” He was 93.
"This is what we grew up praying for and dreaming of," my father told me in a recent conversation, "so I did not need to read any further." Nessim Bouskila made his way to the headquarters of the Jewish Agency in Paris, where he found more than 400 young men and women already lined up, eagerly awaiting the "privilege," as Papa worded it, to help defend Israel.
What does it mean to "resist history"? What is "historicism," and why would there be "discontents" toward historicism in German Jewish thought, or in any intellectual society?
There are two different ways of reminding us that Purim is around the corner. One is the PR method, involving newspaper ads, thousands of fliers and large street banners, usually advertising the upcoming Purim carnivals. The other involves no media or marketing but has existed for more than 2000 years. It's called Shabbat Zachor (the Sabbath of Remembering).