Winning Friends in High Places

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7 Responses

  1. joel rich says:

    What would the reaction to such a dedication be today?

    Some interesting insights on this question may be found on an audio where R’ Lamm explains his decision to honor the Cardinals’ request to visit the YU Beit Medrash.

    I would expand your final thought to say our most important survival tool is our relationship with HKB”H (of which prayer is an important part). In fact according to R’ JB Soloveitchik ZT”l one primary purpose of prayer is to help us realize for ourselves that we have HKB”H alone to rely on.


  2. Barry Simon says:

    Interestingly enough, the Ralbag appears in the definitive web mathematical history (no, not the Wikipedia although Ralbag is there – – as Gersonides – with the mathemtical content clearly, er, borrowed from St. Andrews) – namely, the MacTutor History ( See

    Even more interesting, the biography doesn’t mention he was Jewish nor the acronym Ralbag although it does say “His other work was philosophical and he wrote complex Biblical commentaries”!!!

    While on the subject of the biographies of mathematicians, I might add that the Gra (Vilna Gaon) does not appear in MacTudor despite the widespread rumors in certain frum circles that he invented Cramer’s rule (although the true inventor of that rule does as


  3. Bob Miller says:

    It’s bad enough when the Cardinals visit Shea Stadium!

  4. mb says:

    Sir Moses Montefiore’s close relationship with Queen Victoria did no harm as he was able to wield the might of Victorian diplomacy on his many trips abroad on missions to save the plight of beleagured Jews. Interestingly at a time when highly placed Jews in England were doing much to shed their jewishness, Sir Moses Zt’l, from not particularly observant beginnings developed a life of religious piety.
    My hero.

  5. lawrence kaplan says:

    BTW, it wasn’t the Ralbag’s position on free will that was controversial but his position on Divine knowledge.

  6. Toby Katz says:

    “We know about the Nodah Bi-Yehudah and the baker’s son”

    Actually I don’t know — maybe that story isn’t as famous as you think?

  7. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    Professor Kaplan is correct, of course. But that was precisely what I meant. Like many others, I was first exposed to the unusual position of Ralbag about Divine knowledge (i.e., that it does not apply to human volitional actions) in the context of his discussion of how people could have freedom of will if G-d knows exactly what choices they will make.

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