Gruss Scholar-in-Residence

General Information 

The Gruss Scholar-in-Residence will spend a year in full-time residence at NYU School of Law while researching and writing significant and publishable scholarship in an area related to Jewish law and/or the interaction between Jewish and American law. It is expected that at least one published article will result from the Scholar's year of residence; this article will be considered for publication in a working paper series of the Law School.

In addition, the Gruss Scholar will familiarize him/herself with the Gruss Library, so as to serve as a resource on its contents for members of the Law School community. The Scholar will supervise the continual updating and enriching of the Gruss Library and will act as the resident liaison between the library, the main Law School library and the rest of the Law School community. The Scholar will become fully integrated with the intellectual community of the Law School, regularly attending events of the School of Law, including the faculty colloquia and other similar events.

2019-2021 Gruss Scholar-in-Residence

Hillel Mali is a Post-Doctoral Student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Hillel completed his PhD: "Descriptions of the Temple in the Mishna: History, Redaction and Meaning", under the supervision of the late Professor Aharon Shemesh, From whom he learned to see the hidden connections and developments in the halakhic literature from Qumran to rabbinic times.” He joined a research group led by Dr. Naphtali Meshel, "Thinking Rite: A New and Ancient Science of Ritual" at The Hebrew University, focusing on new comparative models for the analysis of ritual systems. 
Hillel is the recipient of the President's Scholarship for Outstanding Doctoral Students (2014-2018), Nathan Rotenstreich Scholarship for Outstanding Graduate Students (2016-2018), the Orion Center Research Scholarship (2018), and Riklis Prize for Academic Excellence in Jewish Studies (2018), and awarded a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship to pursue his research in the NYU Law School. 
In addition, Hillel is a musician, he Established the "Nigun Yerushalmi" ensemble – this group performs old Jerusalemite Music played on antique instruments. The Ensemble produced two albums and has had hundreds of performances in Israel and abroad seeking to excavate old layers of sound that in turn becomes a meeting between ages, religions and beliefs. 
Hillel is currently conducting research as a Scholar in residence fellow at the NYU School of Law for the academic year of 2019-2021.

Research Title: 

From Priestly Literature to the Order of Holy Things: The Relationship between Ritual and Law.

Research Synopsis:

In his dissertation, 'Descriptions of the Temple in the Mishna: History, Redaction and Meaning', Hillel pointed to links and connections between the Tannaitic “order of service” and Aramaic priestly literature on the order of sacrifice. The purpose of the current project is to examine the relationship between ritual texts concerning the order of service in the Temple in rabbinic literature and the priestly texts that preceded them (especially Qumran literature) in order to answer two basic questions:
(1) What debt does rabbinic ritual law owe the traditions that preceded it? To what extent did rabbinic literature borrow literary form and content from earlier priestly sources, and what precisely, if at all, were the dimensions of the interchange between the corpora? 
(2) To what extent does non-ritual rabbinic legislation (civil, criminal, and non-cultic religious law) draw from concepts derived from cultic regulations? Where precisely do principles derived directly from ritual form a basis for rabbinic legal conceptualization?
The contribution of this project to the study of Mishnah and Talmud touches upon a number of fields of research. First of all, to the bridge that has been built in the past seventy years between the Bible and rabbinic literature. The Mishnah, a detailed and extensive legal code, appeared to have been created "ex nihilo". The discovery of the Qumran scrolls and careful examination of Second Temple literature enables us to slowly bridge the gap and rediscover the path by which biblical and other traditions were transmitted, reworked and developed in order to create rabbinic literature, and this project will shed light on another path along which the halakhah traversed and developed.
Plotting out the process in which ritual was conceptualized using the Mishnah's legal dialect and genre will not only explain local issues and developments; it will also advance our understanding of the emergence of Halakhah as a phenomenon and of the broader problem of the relationship between law and ritual.

Previous Gruss Scholars-in-Residence

  • Irit Offer Stark
  • Adiel Zimran
  • Debra Glasberg Gail
  • Tamara Morsel-Eisenberg
  • Shraga Bar-On
  • Shivi Greenfield
  • Ruth Kaniel Kara-Ivanov
  • Dr. Job Jindo
  • Yehuda Septimus
  • Rabbi Naftali Cohn
  • Rabbi David Flatto
  • Rabbi Dr. Gidon Rothstein