In “‘Do not grieve excessively’: Rabbis Mourning Children Between Law and Narrative in Rabbinic Laws of Mourning and Soloveitchik’s Halakhic Man,” Shira Billet highlights a rabbinic literary trope of rabbis who focus on performing commandments and teaching Torah upon losing a child and analyzes it in relation to a modern example of this trope found in Joseph Soloveitchik’s Halakhic Man. Although such stories of diminished mourning for children have been understood negatively by modern readers as touchstones of a general Jewish ethos that prioritizes the observance of commandments over the love of children, this article offers a framework for rethinking both the rabbinic sources and the modern story, uncovering emotional complexity and pathos hidden within them. By bringing together rabbinic literature and the modern work of Soloveitchik, this analysis crosses disciplinary boundaries in a way that aims to productively expand the scholarly toolbox for approaching questions at stake for modern Jewish thought insofar as it inherits rabbinic texts.
Billet, Shira. "“Do not grieve excessively”: Rabbis Mourning Children Between Law and Narrative in Rabbinic Laws of Mourning and Soloveitchik’s Halakhic Man." Journal of Textual Reasoning 14, no. 1 (2023): 96-130. https://doi.org/10.21220/s2-n807-cg74.