When Truth Is Sacrificed To Power

That Moses needed to resort to force was itself a sign that he had been dragged down to the level of the rebels. That is what happens when power, not truth, is at stake.

Remember To Remember

Part of what makes religion a force for honest and altruistic behavior is the belief that G-d sees what we do.

Moses And The Trajectory From Pain To Humility

True humility means silencing the “I.” For genuinely humble people, it is G-d and other people and principle that matter, not me.

The Way Of The Sage And The Way Of The Saint

Judaism strongly believes that G-d is to be found in the midst of the physical world that He created that is, in the first chapter of Genesis, seven times pronounced “good.” It believes not in renouncing pleasure but in sanctifying it.

A New Relationship

Because the law came before the land, even when Jews lost the land they still had the law. This meant that even in exile, Jews were still a nation.

The Politics Of Responsibility

Only one other nation in history has consistently seen its fate in similar terms, namely the United States. The influence of the Hebrew Bible on American history – carried by the Pilgrim Fathers and reiterated in presidential rhetoric ever since – was decisive.

The Economics Of Liberty

What makes Judaism distinctive is its commitment to both freedom and equality, while at the same time recognizing the tension between them.

Beyond Martyrdom: Sanctifying The Name

Having chosen to identify His Name with the people of Israel, G-d is, as it were, caught between the demands of justice on the one hand, and public perception on the other.

Guilt, Shame, And The Scapegoat

Expiation demands a ritual. Yet Maimonides does not explain why Yom Kippur demanded a rite not used on other days when sin or guilt offerings were brought.

Each of us Must Never Forget the Holocaust

Our best defence is not abstract principle but specific memory

Education: The Key To Success

It is one of the most counterintuitive acts in the history of leadership. Moshe did not speak about today or tomorrow. He spoke about the distant future and the duty of parents to educate their children.

Tzara’at And The Power Of Shame

According to the Sages’ interpretation, the law of tzara’at constitutes one of the rare instances in the Torah of punishment by shame rather than guilt.

How To Praise And How Not To Praise

Lena told the families with whom she was working that every day they must notice each member of the family doing something right, and say so – specifically, positively and thankfully.

Fire: Holy and Unholy

The most fundamental mistake – the mistake of Nadav and Avihu – is to take the powers that belong to man’s encounter with the world and apply them to man’s encounter with the Divine.

Violence And The Sacred

Had G-d not told the first humans: ‘Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves in the ground’? That is why Abel brought an animal sacrifice.

The Inner Meaning Of The Sacrifices

The key element is not so much giving something up (the usual meaning of sacrifice), but rather bringing something close to G-d.

Integrity In Public Life

It is the mark of a good society that public leadership is seen as a form of service rather than a means to power.

Religion, Community, And The Good Society

How do you restore moral order – not just then in the days of Moses, but even now? The answer lies in the first word of today’s parsha: Vayakhel.

Can There Be Compassion Without Justice?

This is a totally counterintuitive truth: The more we believe that G-d punishes the guilty, the more forgiving we become; the less we believe that G-d punishes the guilty, the more resentful and punitive we become.

The Ethic Of Holiness

This week’s Torah portion marks the first time we encounter the idea of a hereditary elite within the Jewish people

Covenant & Conversation: Parshat Terumah: The Labour of Gratitude

That is why a society based on rights NOT responsibilities, on what we claim from, not what we give to others, will always eventually go wrong.

Healing The Heart Of Darkness

As the realization that he was a Jew began to change his life, it also transformed his understanding of the world.

The Ten Commandments As The Structure Of A Good Society

The first three commands establish the single most important principle of a free society, namely the moral limits of power.

The Face Of Evil

While it is true that the enemy always hates us for a reason, it is his reason, not ours.

Telling The Story

In Judaism, the stories are not engraved in stone on memorials…. They are told at home, around the table, from parents to children as the gift of the past to the future.

Pharaoh’s Heart And The Freewill Question

Freedom in the deepest sense, the freedom to do the right and the good, is not a given. We acquire it, or lose it, gradually.

The Two Who Didn’t ‘Follow Orders’

This is the first recorded instance in history of civil disobedience – refusing to obey an order, given by the most powerful man in the most powerful empire of the ancient world, simply because it was immoral.

The Birth Of Forgiveness

Forgiveness does not appear in every culture. It is not a human universal, nor is it a biological imperative.

What You See May Not Be What You Get

In order to choose between right and wrong, between good and bad – in order to live the moral life – we must make sure not only to look, but also to listen.

Chanukah In Hindsight

We became the people whose heroes were teachers, whose citadels were schools, and whose passion was learning and the life of the mind. The end result was that Judaism did survive and thrive throughout the centuries, whereas Ancient Greece … declined.


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