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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.

A Sense of History

Ki Tavo begins with the ceremony of bringing firstfruits to the Temple. The Mishnah (Bikkurim 3) gives a detailed account of what happened: Those that were near to Jerusalem brought fresh figs and grapes, and those that were far away brought dried figs and raisins. Before them went the ox, its horns overlaid with gold, […]

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The Parameters of Justice

In Deuteronomy 24, we encounter for the first time the explicit statement of a law of far-reaching significance: “Parents shall not be put to death for children, nor children who put to death for parents: a person shall be put to death only for his own crime. (Deut. 24:16)” We have strong historical evidence as […]

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Testing Prophecy

In his enumeration of the various leadership roles within the nation that would take shape after his death, Moses mentions not only the priest/judge and king but also the prophet: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.” Moses would […]

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Judaism’s Social Vision

If you seek to understand Judaism’s social vision, look at its anti-poverty legislation. “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tight-fisted toward your poor brother. Rather be open-handed and freely lend him […]

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Tzedek: Justice and Compassion

Philosophy or Prophecy One of the most profound disagreements in Judaism is that between Moses Maimonides and Judah Halevi on the meaning of the first of the Ten Commandments. For Maimonides (1135-1204), the first command is to believe in God, creator of heaven and earth: The basic principle of all basic principles and the pillar […]

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The Danger of Suspicion

It is a fascinating story and from it comes one of the great principles of Judaism. Two of the tribes, Reuben and Gad, see that the land east of the Jordan is ideally suited as pasture for their large herds and flocks of livestock. They approach Moses and ask to have permission to settle there […]

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On Parents and Teachers

Just beneath the surface of this week’s parshah is an exceptionally poignant story. It occurs in the context of Moses’ prayer that God appoint a successor as leader of the Jewish people. One hint is given in the words of God to Moses: “After you have seen you also will be gathered to your people, […]

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