In view of the seeming sanctity that the Torah imparts to blood, why would it tell us to spill animal blood indiscriminately?
The delicate balance of the Jews place in the world: The impact of interacting with other cultures
The Torah knows that we are likely to understand the journey in the desert as essentially one long trip. And so it tries to make us stop and realize that there were actually two journeys and not just one. The first ended with the death of Aharon; the second began with resistance from the Canaanite king
History repeats itself: Israel extends the hand of peace to a neighbor and is rebuffed
The paradoxical truth of a very, very good land--Israel.
Constitutional democracy is a better form of spiritual government than either anarchy or totalitarianism. G-d wanted intellectual diversity and as close to universal accountability as possible.
Parshat Nasso and the issue of the sotah and coming face-to-face with our own responsibility and not just throw it on others.
Hoe the Torah establishes the value of the individual--and how that ensures humility.
That man is more than flesh is obvious to the Torah, but the Torah’s task is to make it obvious to man.
The retelling of the exodus at Pesach is meant to deepen our faith; and the excerpt from the Mishnah towards the beginning of the Haggadah presents a model for how to do that. It teaches us to follow the example of R. Elazar
Obviously, sin and happy are not words that go together well. But, says Rabbi Yochanan, when people admit to and atone for their sins, that is cause for happiness.
Paradoxically, with Moshe’s desperate act, something positive happened. When the people realized what Moshe was responding to, it shook them to their foundations.
Seven is possibly the most significant number in Jewish Thought.
The art--and history--of Jewish communication.
How did the Jews find grace in the eyes of the Egyptians, receiving gifts from their Egyptian neighbors as they left, when they were perceived as the source of all the plagues and destruction?
In our day of media over-reporting, we often think that we should know everything about our leaders. Perhaps it is better to know too little than too much. For when it comes to ethics, the Torah spares no one in reporting what falls short of the mark.
If Ya’akov’s words to Pharaoh were just an exercise in self-mortification about what was too late to change, there would be little to learn from them. But if, as is more likely, they represented part of a strategy of how to continue improving, there is actually a great deal we can learn from them.
Yosef’s struggle with his brothers was ideological, whether we are to influence the world by example from the private and safe existence of our tent (the brothers), or whether take more risks by going outside and being heavily involved with the rest of civilization (Yosef)
Ya’akov did not pray for Rachel to conceive because he did not believe in "forcing God’s hand." He asks, “Am I instead of God? God knows best whether to give children or not. All I can do is ask.”
Yishmael’s challenge was whether to come back at all. Having been so clearly rejected, why would he want to have anything more to do with his father Avraham?
The benefits of sacrificing-but not TOO much
Rather than keeping it only to herself, Chava showed her love for her husband by sacrificing her own consumption of the fruit, allowing him to eat part of it instead.
Sukkot is a holiday that brings a unique inner peace – a peace that would seem to resemble the messianic era, a universal acceptance of God’s moral and spiritual order; an order that is best advanced by helping the Jewish people serve God and further educate mankind.
It seems important for the Torah’s central prophet to have been someone with whom gentiles could identify. And being buried outside of Israel may well have been part of that
Moshe saw all the Jews as one whole, it was the ones in front of him who served as the representatives for all those who had lived and would live in the future.