No Results Found.

Not in Heaven
by in
When I was a student at university in the late 1960s – the era of student protests, psychedelic drugs, and the Beatles meditating with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – a story went the rounds. An American Jewish woman in her sixties travelled to north India to see a celebrated guru. There were huge crowds waiting […]
We Are What We Remember
by in
One reason religion has survived in the modern world despite four centuries of secularisation is that it answers the three questions every reflective human being will ask at some time in his or her life: Who am I? Why am I here? How then shall I live? These cannot be answered by the four great […]
The Limits of Love
by in
In a parsha laden with laws, one in particular is full of fascination. Here it is: If a man has two wives, one loved, the other unloved [senuah, literally “hated”], and both the loved and the unloved bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the unloved wife, then when he wills his property […]
The Greatness of Humility
by in
At a dinner to celebrate the work of a communal leader, the guest speaker paid tribute to his many qualities: his dedication, hard work and foresight. As he sat down the leader leaned over and said, “You forget to mention one thing.” “What was that?” asked the speaker. The leader replied, “My humility.” Quite so. […]
The Deep Power of Joy
by in
On 14 October 1663 the famous diarist Samuel Pepys paid a visit to the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in Creechurch Lane in the city of London. Jews had been exiled from England in 1290 but in 1656, following an intercession by Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel of Amsterdam, Oliver Cromwell concluded that there was in fact […]
The Spirituality of Listening
by in
It is one of the most important words in Judaism, and also one of the least understood. Its two most famous occurrences are in last week’s parsha and this week’s: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one,” and “It shall come to pass if you surely listen to My commandments which I am commanding […]
The Power of Why
by in
In a much watched TED talk Simon Sinek asked the question: how do great leaders inspire action?1 What made people like Martin Luther King and Steve Jobs stand out from their contemporaries who may have been no less gifted, no less qualified? His answer: Most people talk about what. Some people talk about how. Great leaders, though, start […]
To 120: Growing Old, Staying Young
by in
On 27 March 2012, to celebrate the diamond jubilee of the Queen, an ancient ceremony took place at Buckingham Palace. A number of institutions presented Loyal Addresses to the Queen, thanking her for her service to the nation. Among them was the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Its then president, Vivian Wineman, included in […]
The Complexity of Human Rights
by in
The book of Bamidbar comes to a close that is very strange indeed. Earlier in the parsha of Pinchas we read of how the five daughters of Tzelophehad came to Moses with a claim based on justice and human rights.1 Their father had died without sons. Inheritance – in this case, of a share in the […]
Moses’ Disappointment
by in
Hidden beneath the surface of parshat Pinchas the sages uncovered a story of great poignancy. Moses, having seen his sister and brother die, knew that his own time on earth was coming to a close. He prayed to God to appoint a successor: “May the Lord, God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a […]