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The Two Journeys
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The books of Shemot and Bamidbar have some striking similarities. They are both about journeys. They both portray the Israelites as quarrelsome and ungrateful. Both contain stories about the people complaining about food and water. In both the Israelites commit a major sin: in Shemot, the golden calf, in Bamidbar, the episode of the spies. […]
We Are What We Do Not Own
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The late Maurice and Vivienne Wohl were one of the most remarkable couples I ever met. They were a study in contrasts. Maurice was quiet, introspective, reflective and reserved. Vivienne was outgoing and vivacious, a people person in the truest sense. They complemented one another perfectly: two halves of a whole. What made them special, […]
In Search of the Why
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The most often quoted of all Nietzsche’s remarks – indeed one of the most quoted sentences of all in recent times – is his statement that “One who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”[1] If life has a meaning, if our own life has a purpose, if there is a task we have yet […]
In the Diary
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Time management is more than management and larger than time. It is about life itself. God gives us one thing above all: life itself. And He gives it to us all on equal terms. However rich we are, there are still only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and a span […]
Love Is Not Enough
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The opening chapter of Kedoshim contains two of the most powerful of all commands: to love your neighbour and to love the stranger. “Love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord” goes the first. “When a stranger comes to live in your land, do not mistreat him,” goes the second, and continues, “Treat the […]
The Power of Praise
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From time to time couples come to see me before their wedding. Sometimes they ask me whether I have any advice to give them as to how to make their marriage strong. In reply I give them a simple suggestion. It is almost magical in its effects. It will make their relationship strong and in […]
When Weakness Becomes Strength
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Have you ever felt inadequate to a task you have been assigned or a job you have been given? Do you sometimes feel that other people have too high an estimate of your abilities? Has there been a moment when you felt like a faker, a fraud, and that at some time you would be […]
Giving Thanks
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The first words we are taught to say each morning, immediately on waking, are Modeh/modah ani, “I give thanks.” We thank before we think. Note that the normal word order is inverted: Modeh ani, not ani modeh, so that in Hebrew the “thanks” comes before the “I.” Judaism is “gratitude with attitude.” And this, according to recent scientific research, […]
The Call
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It was never my ambition or aspiration to be a rabbi. I went to university to study economics. I then switched to philosophy. I also had a fascination with the great British courtroom lawyers, legendary figures like Marshall Hall, Rufus Isaacs and F. E. Smith. To be sure, relatively late, I had studied for the […]
Making Space
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With this week’s double parsha, with its long account of the construction of the sanctuary – one of the longest narratives in the Torah, taking a full 13 chapters – comes to a magnificent climax: Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the Sanctuary. Moses could not enter the Tent […]