Abraham was acting on both occasions--the banishment of Ishmael and the sacrifice of Isaac--against his emotions, his paternal instincts. What is the Torah telling us about the nature of fatherhood?
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.
What is the difference between philosophy and the political vision at the heart of Tanach? The answer lies in their different understandings of time.
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 we cry from the heart, someone listens; When we cry on Yom Kippur, God hears us.
Sukkot's duality is that it's the most universalistic and the most particularistic of all festivals
Simply too many cases of prayers being answered to deny it makes a difference to our fate. It does.
Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery's permitted-?!
By wisdom, we come to understand G-d via creation; By Torah we understand G-d through His revelation
The Torah scroll is the nearest Judaism comes to endowing a physical entity with sanctity.
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.
Moshe wasn't the last of the prophets. How would Israel discern his true successors from the false?
Abraham and Holocaust survivors shared the commitment to first building the future and only then allowing themselves to remember the past. That is what Abraham did in this week’s parsha.
Rebecca, hitherto infertile, became pregnant. Suffering acute pain, she went to inquire of the Lord – “vateilech lidrosh et Hashem” (Bereishit 25:22). The explanation she received was that she was carrying twins who were contending in her womb. They were destined to do so long into the future.
t was not Joseph but Judah who conferred his identity on the people; Judah who became the ancestor of Israel’s greatest king, David; Judah from whom the messiah will be born. Why Judah and not Joseph? The answer undoubtedly lies in the beginning of Parshat Vayigash,
If having a king is a good thing, why does God say that it means that the people are rejecting Him? If it is a bad thing, why does God tell Samuel to give the people what they want even if it is not what God would wish them to want?
Leaders lead. They don’t conform for the sake of conforming. They don’t do what others do merely because others are doing it. They think outside the box. They march to a different tune.
Jacob, Leah, Tamar and Joseph discover that, though they may never win the affection they desire, G-d is with them and that, ultimately, is enough. A disguise hides one from others, but not from G-d
Happiness is not the central value of the Torah. Occurring ten times more is the word "simcha," JOY
The episode of the spies has rightly puzzled commentators throughout the centuries. How could they have got it so wrong? The land, they said, was as Moses had promised. It was indeed “flowing with milk and honey.” But conquering it was impossible. “The people who live there are powerful, and the cities fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of the giant there … We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are … All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the titans there … We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and so we seemed in theirs” (Numbers 13:28-33).
What happens at the sea is poetic justice of the most exquisite kind. The powerful are now powerless, while the powerless have made their way to freedom.
Between the Flood and the call to Abraham, between the universal covenant with Noah and the particular covenant with one people comes the strange, suggestive story of Babel:
There's no obligation TO wear tzitzit; opting to wear them symbolizes free acceptance of the mitzvot
The great leaders of Israel were the great defenders of Israel, people who saw the good within the not-yet-good. That is why they were listened to when they urged people to change and grow. THat is how it was in the time of Moses; that is how it remains today
Joseph reframed his entire past, now understanding himself charged with a life-saving mission by God