Esther and Mordecai by Aerte de Gelder

Redeeming Relevance: Acting in a World of Doubt

Yet, if Mordechai teaches us that doubt is no reason for inaction, it is Esther that teaches us that it is actually a reason for even more effort

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Mishpatim: The Torah’s Superior Strategy for Brotherly Love

But the Torah was given to real people, for whom love of the outsider would not always be so obvious.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Va’Eira: A Quantitative Approach to Free Will

This story is actually a brilliant depiction of the interplay between divine providence and free will. Without taking away our ability to “surprise Him,” God – when needed – doesn’t hesitate to steer us in the direction He wants.

The Tragedy of When We are both Right

So while a proper reading of the Book of Bereshit introduces us to moral complexity, its end pushes us even further. It prepares us for the fact that there is even a level of moral complexity, which we should realize exists even if we may never understand it

Redeeming Relevance: Esav: The Off the Derekh Patriarch

Rav Hirsch famously criticizes Yitzchak and Rivkah for not educating Esav according to his innate personality, and instead trying to force him to be like Ya’akov. His insight is meant to teach that while it was Esav that made the choice to go ‘off the derekh,’ there is always much that parents can try to do before that happens.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Toldot: Switching the Land On and Off 

Being bound on Mount Moriah gave Yitzchak a connection with God that would be disturbed by living outside the Land of Israel. 

Redeeming Relevance: Did God set Avraham up for Failure?

In fact – at its core – there is no better argument than Avraham’s. For his petition is asking for nothing else than what is good for God. For when God executes strict justice, He often “sacrifices” His own reputation for the sake of the truth.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Noach: Do We Really Understand why Murder is Wrong? 

If so, why was Noah commanded not to murder (and, likely, other old commandments) as well? Apparently, there was something not yet completely intuitive, and that was the sanctity of life.  

Redeeming Relevance; V’Zot HaBracha: Moshe’s Blessings and his Successful Failure

Yet in spite of Moshe’s best intentions, it is obvious that his blessings – as we have portrayed them – had little effect on the Jews once they reached the Land of Israel.

Redeeming Relevance: Moshe’s Command to Die

When we cannot fully understand God’s decision that accepting it shows our true allegiance to Him

Redeeming Relevance: How to Enjoy this World

There is nothing wrong – and actually everything right – about loving God’s world. But to be significant, it must be a love grounded in enhanced awareness and appreciation of God.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Re’eh: How to See God in the World

Whether in its variation or in its norms, the world around us provides countless ways to see God. But that will only happen to someone who is looking for them. In other words if we really want to see God, we must also seek God.

Redeeming Relevance: When Moshe Threw a Book Across the Classroom

Most of Devarim is Moshe’s series of parting lectures to the Jewish people. Two things about them are clearly felt – the first is that they are long, often abstract and sometimes even appear repetitive; and the second is that Moshe accordingly uses diverse tactics to keep the Jews listening.

Redeeming Relevance: One Law Fits All?

The notion that all men are created equal is a modern myth. The truth is that all men are created differently

Redeeming Relevance: All You Need is One Good Man 

a different leader of the next generation steps up and takes action. That leader was Pinchas...True leaders like Pinchas don’t come out of leadership schools. When the time is ripe, they simply emerge. 

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Korach: What to do When Our Decisions Bring Casualties

Many of the commentators find a disturbingly strong rationale in the Jews’ complaint mentioned above. The complainers were essentially blaming Moshe for setting up a murderous trap for the two hundred and fifty men that contested the choice of Aharon and his sons as priests.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Behaalotecha: Just Trying to Improve Things

In this week's parsha, there is an unusually insightful process of how a little complaint can undermine a gigantic and noble enterprise:

Redeeming Relevance: Why House Clothes Simply Won’t Do

It might seem easier to pray alone to God, rather than with the various distractions of a communal setting. True, Jewish law actually recognizes this and tries to minimize these distractions by recommending a set seat, prohibiting holding objects, etc. Still, the many distractions are impossible to completely eliminate. Yet in spite of its drawbacks, we derive strength from doing things together with a group.

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Vayakhel: Dr. Frankenstein’s Melacha

Perhaps in the midst of the great uncertainties created by the Coronavirus pandemic, it is all too easy to remember that we are not God. But the temptation to think otherwise still exists. And once the pandemic will be over and man will continue to build better and better tools to control his fate and his environment, that temptation will regain its strength

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Mishpatim: An Eye for an Eye and the Best of All...

The traditional understanding – that the Torah is referring to the monetary value of an eye – is not without its difficulties either

Redeeming Relevance: How Many of Moshe’s Children are on His Family Tree?

Though they share parents and ancestors, once the two lines diverge, the Torah tells us exclusively about Aharon’s descendants

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Vayechi: Like Reuven and Shimon?!?

Ya’akov’s mistake instructs us to understand that even if something appears to be good, that does not mean there isn’t a different way that might be even better

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Vayishlach: The Torah’s Mother

In one of the most mysterious verses in the Torah (Bereshit 35:8), we read about the death of Devorah the nursemaid, a character so minor that we have never really heard of her before

Redeeming Relevance: Parshat Toldot: When a Son Confronts a Father and When a Father...

On the face of it, a conventional exchange between father and son, we see it nowhere else in Tanakh. Moreover both discussions take place at pivotal points in which the respective father-son relationships are tested to their limits.


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