Return of the Rabbis

In a thoughtful review of a recent translation of Benny Lau’s The Sages at Jewish Ideas Daily, Elli Fischer suggests that if we take Lau’s series for what it is – a “digest and interpretation of earlier histories, memories, and traditions in a manner that allows them to speak to the current moment” by “a 21st-century rabbi and leading figure in liberal Orthodox southern Jerusalem,” we will be rewarded.  At the very least, Lau

deserves to be treated as fairly as the rabbis of 5th-century Babylonia or 3rd-century Palestine.  That is to say, he should be read as a rabbi and not as a historian—an approach affirmed by the book’s origins as a Sabbath afternoon synagogue lecture series.

Indeed.

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