No Results Found.

Was Jacob Right To Take Esau’s Blessing?
by in
Was Jacob right to take Esau’s blessing in disguise? Was he right to deceive his father and to take from his brother the blessing Isaac sought to give him? Was Rivka right in conceiving the plan in the first place and encouraging Jacob to carry it out? These are fundamental questions. What is at stake […]
The Kindness of Strangers
by in
In 1966 an eleven-year-old black boy moved with his parents and family to a white neighbourhood in Washington.[1] Sitting with his two brothers and two sisters on the front step of the house, he waited to see how they would be greeted. They were not. Passers-by turned to look at them but no one gave […]
The Binding of Isaac
by in
“Take your son, your only son, the one you love—Isaac—and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Thus begins one of the most famous episodes in the Torah, but also one of the most morally problematic. The conventional reading of this passage is that […]
How Perfect Were the Matriarchs and Patriarchs?
by in
In an extraordinary series of observations on this week’s parsha, Nahmanides (Ramban, Rabbi Moses ben Nahman Girondi, 1194 – 1270), delivers harsh criticisms of Abraham and Sarah. The first has to do with Abraham’s decision, after arriving at the land of Canaan, to leave and go to Egypt because “there was a famine in the […]
Beyond Nature
by in
Are we naturally good or naturally bad? On this great minds have argued for centuries. Hobbes believed that we have naturally “a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.” We are bad, but governments and police can help limit the harm we do. Rousseau to the contrary believed that […]
The Genesis of Justice
by in
There are words that change the world, none more so than two sentences that appear in the first chapter of the Torah: Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over […]
The World’s Most Enduring Moral Voice
by in
Judaism entered the world as a moral voice. It did so from the beginning, from its account of creation itself. There we read, almost like a litany, “God said, Let there be … and there was … and God saw that it was good.” The emphasis is on the word good. This is the language […]
Sukkot: The Dual Festival
by in
The sedra of Emor outlines the festivals that give rhythm and structure to the Jewish year. Examining them carefully, however, we see that Sukkot is unusual, unique. One detail which had a significant influence on Jewish liturgy appears later on in the book of Deuteronomy: “Be joyful at your Feast . . . For seven days […]
The Leader’s Call to Responsibility
by in
When words take wing, they modulate into song. That is what they do here in Haazinu as Moses, with the angel of death already in sight, prepares to take leave of this life. Never before had he spoken with such passion. His language is vivid, even violent. He wants his final words never to be […]
Consensus vs. Command?
by in
What do you say to your successor? What advice do you give him or her? Vayelech is the place to look for the answer, because it is here that Moses finally handed the reins over to Joshua, and he and God both give him a blessing for the future. But they gave different blessings. Listen […]