Lawrence Kaplan, Tikvah Fellow at NYU School of Law, gave the Tikvah Public Lecture on November 21. In “Can the Halakhah Suspend One’s Emotions? Rabbi Soloveitchik, Rashi, and Maimonidies on the Laws of Mourning,” Kaplan discussed the conflicts between Jewish laws of mourning and laws concerning the celebration of religious holidays.

“I don’t think there is anybody who is more suitable to talk about the subject of our lecture,” said Moshe Halbertal, Gruss Professor of Law, in his introduction of Kaplan. “Anybody who knows Larry’s work sees the breadth of interest, the wealth of ideas, and the richness of thought.”

Kaplan argued against Rabbi Soloveitchik, who concludes that the mourner must suspend his emotions and cease to grieve inwardly once a holiday begins, instead making an argument in the steps of Rashi and Maimonides. “The mourner, while continuing to grieve inwardly, should join the community, which is rejoicing before God, and perhaps by so doing, he or she will find some measure of comfort,” Kaplan said.

Following his lecture, Kaplan held a question and answer session with the audience.

Watch the full video of the event (1 h 14 min):