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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.

The Sins of a Leader

Leaders make mistakes. That is inevitable. So, strikingly, our parsha implies. The real issue is how he or she responds to those mistakes. The point is made by the Torah in a very subtle way. Our parsha deals with sin offerings to be brought when people have made mistakes. The technical term for this is […]

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Celebrate

If leaders are to bring out the best in those they lead, they must give them the chance to show they are capable of great things, and then they must celebrate their achievements. That is what happens at a key moment toward the end of our parsha, one that brings the book of Exodus to […]

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Team-Building

How do you remotivate a demoralized people? How do you put the pieces of a broken nation back together again? That was the challenge faced by Moses in this week’s parsha. The key word here is vayakhel, “Moses gathered.” Kehillah means community. A kehillah or kahal is a group of people assembled for a given purpose. That purpose can be positive or […]

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How Leaders Fail

Leaders can fail for two kinds of reason. The first is external. The time may not be right. The conditions may be unfavourable. There may be no one on the other side to talk to. When British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was asked what was the most difficult thing he had to deal with in […]

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The Counterpoint of Leadership

One of the most important Jewish contributions to our understanding of leadership is its early insistence of what, in the eighteenth century, Montesquieu called “the separation of powers.” Neither authority nor power was to be located in a single individual or office. Instead, leadership was divided between different kinds of roles. One of the most […]

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The Home We Build Together

The sequence of parshiyot, Terumah, Tetzaveh, Ki Tissa, Vayakhel and Pekudei, is puzzling in many ways. First, it outlines the construction of the Tabernacle, the portable house of worship the Israelites built and carried with them through the desert, in exhaustive and exhausting detail. The narrative takes almost the whole of the last third of […]

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Fragments of Memory

“We will never forget you, we will never cease to mourn you, we will not let you down.” At the end of the book of Genesis, Joseph makes one deeply poignant request. Though I die in exile, God will bring you back to the land, and when he does so, vehaalitem et atzmotai mizeh, “Carry […]

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Vision and Details

Our parsha takes us through a bewildering transition. Until now in Shemot we have been carried along by the sweep and drama of the narrative: the Israelites’ enslavement, their hope for freedom, the plagues, Pharaoh’s obstinacy, their escape into the desert, the crossing of the Red Sea, the journey to Mount Sinai and the great […]

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The Stewardship Paradigm

Few texts have had a deeper influence on Western civilisation than the first chapter of Genesis, with its momentous vision of the universe coming into being as the work of God. Set against the grandeur of the narrative, what stands out is the smallness yet uniqueness of humans, vulnerable but also undeniably set apart from […]

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