How Long To Grieve

Abraham, the Sages were convinced, was a greater religious hero than Noah. We hear this in the famous dispute among the Sages about the phrase that Noah was “perfect in his generations,” meaning relative to his generations:

The Religious Significance of Israel

Only in Israel can the Jewish people construct a political system, an economy, and an environment on the template of Jewish values.

Greatness And Humility

Greatness is humility. This idea – counter-intuitive, unexpected, life-changing – is one of the great contributions of the Torah to Western civilization and found in the words of Moses in this week's sedra

Each of us Must Never Forget the Holocaust

Our best defence is not abstract principle but specific memory

Crossing The Sea

I believe that some of the greatest positive changes in our lives come when, having undertaken a challenge, we cross our own Red Sea and know that there is no way back. There is only a way forward.

Three Approaches To Dreams

He did so for the butler and baker in prison and, in this week’s parsha, for Pharaoh. His interpretations were neither magical nor miraculous.

Two Sides Of The Same Coin

During The Three Weeks between 17 Tammuz and Tisha B’Av, as we recall the destruction of the Temples, we read three of the most searing passages in the prophetic literature, the first two from the opening of the book of Jeremiah, the third, next week, from the first chapter of Isaiah.

Taking Responsibility

Kayin does not deny personal responsibility. He does not say, “It was not me,” or “It was not my fault.” He denies moral responsibility.

More Than We Deserve

Chessed has no if-then quality. It is given out of the goodness of the giver, regardless of the worth of the recipient.

Taking On Tragedy

In this exchange between two brothers, a momentous courage is born: the courage of an Aharon who has the strength to grieve and not accept any easy consolation, and the courage of a Moshe who has the strength to keep going in spite of grief.

On Jewish Character

Aaron, according to the most favored explanation, realized that he could not stop the people directly by refusing their request, so he adopted a stalling maneuver.

The Universality Of Wisdom

In parshat Yitro, Israel receives its first system of governance: a hierarchical structure of authority with Moses at the top. Why did this important development come, as it were, from outside?

Grandparents

Between parents and children, he said, there are often tensions. Parents worry about their children. Children sometimes rebel against their parents. The relationship is not always smooth. Not so with grandchildren.

The Sacrifices Of Childbirth

he sacrifices a woman brings on the birth of a child, and the period during which she is unable to enter the Temple, have nothing to do with any sin she may have committed or any “defilement” she may have undergone. They are, rather, to do with the basic fact of human mortality, together with the responsibility a parent undertakes for the conduct of a child

The Courage Of Persistence

Normally we strive to individuate ourselves by differentiating ourselves from our parents. Isaac was not like this. He was content to be a link in the chain of generations, faithful to what his father had started. Isaac represents the faith of persistence, the courage of continuity/

The Universality Of Sukkot

Speaking of the three pilgrimage festivals – Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot – Deuteronomy speaks of “joy.” But it does not do so equally.

How To Renew A Nation

Note the inclusivity of the event. It would be anachronistic to say that the Torah was egalitarian in the contemporary sense.
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Rabbi Sacks’ Message for Tisha B’Av During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Here is a short message as we head towards Tisha B'Av and will be marked in strange and difficult circumstances because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Moshe’s Disappointment

We are each, to some extent, who we chose to become. Neither genes nor upbringing can guarantee that we become the person our parents want us to be.

Fear Of Freedom

The spies were not afraid of failure, he said. They were afraid of success.

To Avenge Or Not To Avenge: That Is The Question

The search for perfect justice is not for us, here, now. It is – as Moses taught the Israelites in the great song he sang at the end of his life – something that faith demands we leave to G-d, who alone knows the human heart, who alone knows what is just in a world of conflicting claims, and who will establish perfect justice at a time, and in a way, of His choosing, not ours.

Liminal Space

The wilderness was not just a place; it was a state of being, a moment of solidarity, midway between enslavement in Egypt and the social inequalities that would later emerge in Israel.

Pursuing Justice

Judaism is a religion of compassion, for without compassion law itself can generate inequity. Justice plus compassion equals tzedek, the first precondition of a decent society.

The Infiniti Game

Finite games are played to win. Infinite games are played for their own sake. Finite games are usually performed in front of an audience of some kind. Infinite games are participative.

A Nation Of Storytellers

Gardner’s argument is that what makes a leader is the ability to tell a particular kind of story – one that explains ourselves to ourselves and gives power and resonance to a collective vision.

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.

The Leader As Scholar

Maimonides holds that the appointment of a king is an obligation, Ibn Ezra that it is a permission, Abarbanel that it is a concession, and Rabbenu Bachya that it is a punishment.

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