The Rest Is His Commentary
Each week, we select the most interesting Jewish obituary. Today, it’s that of Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, who died last week at 99. Through his The Torah: A Modern Commentary, he was arguably the most influential Reform rabbi in 20th century America. It explicitly considered the Torah not to be the direct word of God but rather something of a medium through which Jews could understand God. He was also pretty much the undisputed head of Canadian Jewry; he died in Toronto. “Rabbi Plaut’s Torah has a Janus-headed aspect,” the Times reports. “In an era in which American Reform Jewry had become increasingly assimilated, with worship conducted largely in English, it represented a return to Hebrew Scripture. But it also made it possible to interpret that Scripture in ways that a strict adherence to tradition did not admit.” The obituary concludes with a story Plaut liked to tell about the fickleness of textual interpretation. Upon arriving in Cincinnati in the 1930s (he was born, grew up in, and even got a law degree in Germany), he thought a newspaper was reporting an Italian revolution when he saw the headline, “Reds Murder Cardinals.”
Evidence is that regime is shaky, arguably making attack less advisable
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at email@example.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.