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The Consolations of Mortality: Parshat Chukat

The life-changing idea of Chukat: we are dust of the earth but there is within us the breath of God. We fail, but we can still achieve greatness. We die, but the best part of us lives on.

The First Populist (Korach 5778)

The story of Korach has much to teach us about one of the most disturbing phenomena of our time: the rise of populism in...
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Rabbi Sacks on Religion & Science – The Great Partnership

For too long, people have thought that religion and science are destined to be in conflict.

Faith And Friendship

In this week’s parsha, Moshe reaches his lowest ebb. What is striking is the depth of Moses’ despair, the candor with which he expresses it, and the blazing honesty of the Torah in telling us this story.

Lifting Heads

The challenge that emerges from the way the Torah describes taking a census is that we must “lift people’s heads.” Never let them feel as if they are merely a number. Make those you meet feel important, especially the people whom others tend to take for granted.

The Two Journeys

In Bamidbar, the fledgling Jewish nation is ready to move on. This time they are looking forward, not back. They are thinking not of the danger they are fleeing from but of the destination they are traveling toward, the Promised Land.

We Are What We Do Not Own

Parshat Behar deals with a problem that is as acute today as it was 33 centuries ago: The inevitable inequalities that arise in every free market economy teaching us to ask not, “what can I gain?” but “what can I give?”

Love Is Not Enough

Kedoshim is not just about order. It is about humanizing that order through love – the love of neighbor and stranger. Love needs order.

The Power Of Praise

Evil speech destroys relationships. Good speech mends them. This works not only in marriages and families, but also in communities, organizations and businesses. So: in any relationship that matters to you, deliver praise daily

When Weakness Becomes Strength

Has there been a moment when you felt like a faker, a fraud, and that at some time you would be found out?

Science, Nature And Revelation

The best argument against the world of ancient Egypt was Divine humor. The plagues were G-d’s joke at the expense of the magicians who believed that because they controlled the forces of nature, they were the masters of human destiny. They were wrong.

Giving Thanks

Judaism is “gratitude with attitude.” And this, according to recent scientific research, really is a life-enhancing idea and the source of the command to give thanks is to be found in this week’s parsha

The Call

We can be good at many things, but what gives a life direction and meaning is a sense of mission, of something we are called on to do. That is the significance of the opening word of today’s parsha, Vayikra.

Making Space

For two thousand years in the absence of a Temple its place was taken by the synagogue. Why, if the Torah is timeless, does it devote such space to what was essentially a time-bound structure? The answer is deep and life-transforming,

Arbitration Vs. Litigation

We must never forget that when Aaron was left to lead, the people made a golden calf. But never forget that Moses needed an Aaron to hold the people together. In short, leadership is the capacity to hold together different temperaments, conflicting voices and clashing values.

Prayer: The Priestly Or The Prophetic?

The sedrah of Tetzaveh, in which the name of Moses is missing and the focus is on Aaron, reminds us that our heritage derives from both. Moses is a man of history, of epoch-making events.

The Tabernacle’s Lesson

Parshat Terumah begins the seismic shift from the intense drama of the Exodus, with its wonders and epic events, to the detailed narrative of how the Israelites constructed the Mishkan--the Tabernacle. The Nation begins building its HOME.

Abortion: The Debate Continues

One passage in this week’s sedrah shows how differences in interpretation can lead to, or flow from, profound differences in culture. Ironically, the subject concerned – abortion – remains deeply contentious to this day.

Even Moses Needed Help

By delegating the judicial function downward, Moses would bring ordinary people – with no special prophetic or legal gifts – into the seats of judgment. Precisely because they lacked Moses’s intuitive knowledge of law and justice, they were able to propose equitable solutions.

The Unforgettable Wonders

The genius of the biblical narrative of the crossing of the Reed Sea is that it does not resolve the issue of whether it was a miracle or merely natural, one way or another. It gives us both perspectives-you decide

The Cup Of Hope

Only later did I discover the real significance of Elijah’s cup, and found, as so often, that the truth is no less moving than the stories we learned as children.

Civil Disobedience

How moving it is, therefore, that the first recorded instance of civil disobedience – predating Thoreau by more than three millennia – is the story in this week's parsha of Shifra and Puah, two ordinary women defying Pharaoh in the name of simple humanity.

The White Lie

Is it permitted to tell a white lie? Not only is it permitted to tell a white lie to save a life; it is also permitted to do so for the sake of peace. And we learn this in this week's

Closeness And Distance

For perhaps the first time in his life, Judah came close to his brother Joseph. The irony is, of course, that he did not know it was Joseph.

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