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Britain's Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Britain's Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is a global religious leader, philosopher, the author of more than 25 books, and moral voice for our time. Until 1st September 2013 he served as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, having held the position for 22 years. To read more from Rabbi Sacks or to subscribe to his mailing list, please visit www.rabbisacks.org.

“We The People”

In Bechukotai, in the midst of one of the most searing curses ever to have been uttered to a nation by way of warning, the sages found a fleck of pure gold. Moses is describing a nation in flight from its enemies: I will bring despair into the hearts of those of you who survive […]

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Think Long

In last week’s parsha and this there are two quite similar commands, both of which have to do with counting time. Last week we read about the counting of the omer, the forty nine days between the second day of Pesach and Shavuot: From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf […]

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Followership

There is a fascinating sequence of commands in the great “holiness code” with which our parsha begins, that sheds light on the nature not just of leadership in Judaism but also of followership. Here is the command in context: Do not hate your brother in your heart. Reprove [or reason with] your neighbour frankly so […]

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Seasons of Love

Shir HaShirim (which will be read on the afternoon of Shabbat chol ha’moed Pesach) is not the only biblical book about love. It is a complex emotion that cannot be defined from a single perspective, nor do all its dimensions become apparent at the same time. In a way that is subtle and richly complex, […]

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Sprints and Marathons

It was a unique, unrepeatable moment of leadership at its highest height. For forty days Moses had been communing with God, receiving from him the law written on tablets of stone. Then God informed him that the people had just made a golden calf. He was about to destroy them. It was the worst crisis […]

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How to Praise

The sages were eloquent on the subject of lashon hara, evil speech, the sin they took to be the cause of tsara’at, the subject of this week’s parsha. But there is a meta-halakhic principle: “From the negative you can infer the positive”[1] So, for example, from the seriousness of the prohibition against Chillul Hashem, desecrating […]

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The Price of Free Speech

Hannah Smith was a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl living in Lutterworth, Leicestershire. Bright and outgoing, she enjoyed an active social life and seemed to have an exciting future ahead of her. On the morning of 2 August 2013 Hannah was found hanged in her bedroom. She had committed suicide. Seeking to unravel what had happened, her family […]

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Reticence vs. Impetuosity

It should have been a day of joy. The Israelites had completed the mishkan, the sanctuary. For seven days Moses had made preparations for its consecration.[1] Now on the eighth day – the first of Nisan,[2] one year to the day since the Israelites had received their first command two weeks prior to the exodus – the service […]

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