The Going: A Med­i­ta­tion on Jew­ish Law

December 18, 2018

In a work that casts philo­soph­i­cal and the­o­log­i­cal reflec­tions against a back­drop of per­son­al expe­ri­ence, Leon Wiener Dow offers a learned dis­course that elu­ci­dates the telos of Jew­ish law and the philo­soph­i­cal-the­o­log­i­cal com­mit­ments that ani­mate it. To the read­er gaz­ing upon the halakha from the out­side, this book offers a glimpse of its cen­tral, ori­ent­ing con­cepts. To the read­er who lives amidst the rig­or of halakha, this book bestows an insight­ful glance at the law’s ori­ent­ing ethos and high­er aspi­ra­tions that often remain opaque.

Discussion Questions

Bring­ing togeth­er qual­i­ties of mem­oir, mod­ern Jew­ish thought, and halachic lit­er­a­ture, The Going rep­re­sents an inno­v­a­tive force in Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture. Leon Wiener Dow’s inti­mate account of his own Jew­ish upbring­ing and self-dis­cov­ery brings togeth­er a vari­ety of voic­es and ideas to present a vision of halacha that can speak to Jews regard­less of where they place them­selves on the denom­i­na­tions spec­trum. The Going rais­es pow­er­ful ques­tions not only about how halacha func­tions, but also about how the halacha has depths of mean­ing for Jews of all lev­els of obser­vance. He explores halacha with an eye that bal­ances rev­er­ence for tra­di­tion with a pas­sion for what its future man­i­fes­ta­tions could be like — to read this book is to feel encour­aged to embrace the chal­lenge of locat­ing traces of the divine in the world. His pow­er­ful writ­ing brings to the fore a fresh voice that is bound to influ­ence the con­ver­sa­tion of Jews around the world.