Prooftexts and HUC Connect Present “Like a Sacrifice Ascending from the Flames”: Hadar Goldin’s Mesilat Yesharim in Israeli Religious Nationalist Thought

Mesilat Yesharim, an 18th century work of pietistic and ethical perfection, has been transformed by religious Zionists in Israel into a textual and social experience of civic as well as military duty. This webinar focuses on a contemporary commentary on the text published posthumously by Lt. Hadar Goldin, a casualty of Israel's 2014 war in the Gaza Strip. Hadar's body is being held captive by Hamas having yet to be returned to Israel for burial. Dr. Stern demonstrates how Hadar's version of Mesilat Yesharim functions as a medium through which religious Zionist communities work to balance between the religious, political, and intimately personal obligations inherent within Israeli society. In a larger sense, this webinar highlights how the study of Jewish (sacred) texts can be used as a window into better understanding the competing passions and dilemmas of everyday cultural life.