© 2017

The Going

A Meditation on Jewish Law

  • Provides a phenomenological study of halakha

  • Addresses both philosophical and theological audiences

  • Allows reader to enter the discourse irrespective of the level of their prior knowledge


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Leon Wiener Dow
    Pages 1-21
  3. Leon Wiener Dow
    Pages 23-46
  4. Leon Wiener Dow
    Pages 47-70
  5. Leon Wiener Dow
    Pages 71-95
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 97-106

About this book


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.


jewish studies rosenzeig levinas maimonides hasidism halakha

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Shalom Hartman InstituteJerusalemIsrael

About the authors

Leon Wiener Dow is a research fellow and a member of the faculty at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Israel.

Bibliographic information


“In its depth and breadth, this work is theologically stunning. … Its erudition, sophistication, and verve testify that halakhah is neither only an object of study nor a paved highway but, rather, a path that, in its being traveled, is constantly redirected in view of divine command and human experience.” (Yonatan Y. Brafman, Journal of Jewish Ethics, Vol. 5 (2), 2019)

“In this powerful, haunting, exhilarating volume, Leon Wiener Dow bravely explores the halakha from the inside out, and the outside in. He brings into the halakhic conversation arresting new readings of what this ever-changing and so often vexed system can and perhaps must be. Like the halakha, his book challenges us to think hard about our lives and to and act with conviction.” (Yehudah Mirsky, Brandeis University, author, Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution)

“In this beautiful new book that cuts across genres, Leon Wiener Dow brings together a keen philosophical sensibility, a phenomenological eye, and a manifest love of traditional Jewish sources. Weaving these strands together, he produces something both rare and precious: a book informed by academic Jewish studies whose beating religious heart can be felt on every page.” (Rabbi Shai Held, Ph.D., President and Dean, Mechon Hadar; author of The Heart of Torah: Essays on the Weekly Torah Portion)

“In this remarkably intimate account of his own religious journey, Wiener Dow draws on his vast reservoir of philosophical and rabbinic knowledge to offer a novel and compelling approach to Torah. Wiener Dow addresses the mind while also touching the soul of those who seek the Divine.” (David Ellenson, Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University and Chancellor Emeritus and former President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion)

“At once lyrical, lucid, and moving, The Going has much to teach both those interested in what it might mean to live an observant, committed Jewish life as well as anyone concerned with the question of how to live today in a world seemingly replete with endless choices.” (Leora Batnitzky, Ronald O. Perelman Professor of Jewish Studies and Chair of Department of Religion at Princeton University, author of How Judaism Became a Religion)

“Following in the footsteps of his great teacher David Hartman, Wiener Dow brings together into shared conversation the dominant voices in modern Jewish philosophy, rabbinic thinkers, and today’s Jew, whose intimate struggles negotiate the tensions between tradition and the contemporary world.” (Rabbi Asher Lopatin, President Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School)

“Grounded in the particularity of his life journey towards, through, and within Jewish tradition, Leon Wiener Dow weaves bright threads of the Jewish tradition with lived experience to produce a 21st century vision of Jewish community. The pages of this book pulsate with the vital urgency of one who knows that every private encounter with the Divine demands nothing less than the always risky but ever invigorating commitment to community and the life of action.” (Christine Hayes, Yale University, author of What’s Divine About Divine Law?)

“A truly dazzling achievement, Wiener Dow’s The Going will open your heart and expand your mind. Lyrical and wise, this book’s grace and depth makes you want to savor it slowly.” (Bradley Shavit Artson, Dean, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University)