A friend suggested that we study Heavenly Torah (Torah min Hashamayim)
by Abraham Joshua Heschel (and recently published in a translation by Gordon Tucker). I've been glancing through this book today and can't wait to study it. Where has this work been hiding! Why hasn't it been announced with great fanfare? This is Heschel's synthesis of the theology of Rabbinic Judaism! Who better to make sense of the sea of Talmud!
I love the idea behind this book, which at first glance appears to examine major aspects of Jewish theology through the schools of Akiva and Ishmael.
I know little about Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha but he sounds like the guy I'd be most likely to like in a personal Tanna.
Plus I'm a great appreciator of serendipitous juxtapositions and, having just read Abaye on 106b of Tractate Shabbos
ask: "Are you telling me to learn the tradition for no purpose, that it should be like a song?", I perked up reading the quote of the unnamed Mormon philosopher on p xxv of Heavenly Torah
that "Heschel sings rather than argues.
" It brings home again the divide between those who denigrate and those who value song.