I live on the eastern seaboard of the United States, which was hit by a severe snowstorm last week. Most people find snowfall a nuisance. But for me, a snowfall is a chance to reflect on one of the Almighty's greatest wonders, the little snowflake.
This has got to be one of the oldest "rabbi" jokes in the entire repertoire of American Jewish humor.
It tells us of the young rabbi, fresh from rabbinical school, who addresses his first several sermons to his new congregation on the varied subjects of meticulous Sabbath observance, refraining from malicious gossip, honesty in business, and the avoidance of inappropriately familiar behavior with other men's wives.
Wisdom is the rarest of all important human qualities. Observers of the contemporary state of affairs often remark that wisdom, which is especially necessary in this day and age, is now particularly lacking.
You thought your life would run smoothly, right? We all do. Then, something comes off, tragic or happy, which proves to us that life is not smooth at all, and probably is not supposed to be. Somehow, each of us has a personal script which envisions what our lives will be like in the near […]
You don't hear much about them, and sometimes you don't even know their names. But they are the true heroes and heroines in our lives and in our times.
As I hope to demonstrate, it was also true in biblical times that very important characters in the narrative are hardly mentioned, perhaps only hinted at.
One of the great benefits of visiting communities where I once lived and taught is the opportunity to meet people who were my students long ago. I enjoy reconnecting with them and am occasionally amazed by how much they remember of my lectures and sermons. I recently returned to one of my former communities. I […]
Jews live their lives within the framework of the Jewish calendar. At this time of year, we identify strongly with the narratives contained in the weekly Torah portions that we read in the synagogue. Our thoughts are with the biblical characters of the current parshiyot. We live in the company of Abraham and Sarah, Lot, […]
I never thought that I would begin a discussion of the weekly Torah portion by referring to a person who was canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church. Never, that is, until I sat down to write this week’s Person in the Parsha column. The person in question is Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), the […]