Why Beat the Willow?

When tradition is silent, symbolic explanations arise.

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In rushing to the drash, modernist creative voices displace the Talmudic concern for operating within the simple parameters of reason and halakhah. While that modest goal may not be able to compete with supernal visions or eschatological vindications, there is great values in letting those fundamentals have a hearing. Reasonableness and halakhic involvement are standards that American Jewry would do well to reclaim. Beating our willows, more than anything else, is a summons back to halakhic tidiness—to cleaning up after ourselves ritually by disposing of our kelim after they have served their purpose. And that is next to godliness.

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Rabbi Bradley Artson

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson is Vice-President of the American Jewish University in Los Angeles and Dean of its Ziegler School of Rabbinical Studies. He served as a congregational rabbi in Southern California for ten years. Rabbi Artson?is the author of The Bedside Torah and co-author of a children's book, I Have Some Questions about God.