Names We Should Always Remember Parshat Pinchas, Numbers 27:1-11

The story of the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 27:1-11) has all of the earmarks of a Jane Austen novel: the disenfranchisement and injustices borne by women surrounding the question of inheritance rights; the formal but respectful articulation of the grievances of those women; the dramatic and triumphant vindication of their plight and plea. The story… Read More

Love Yourself When Your Neighbors Won’t Parshat Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9

“My mother thought it was undesirable to be Jewish,” the journalist and psychologist Andrew Solomon writes in his magisterial study of exceptional children and their parents, “Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity.” “She had learned this view from my grandfather, who kept his religion secret so he could hold a… Read More

For the Good of All Parshat Chukat, Numbers 19:1-22:1

101014_riskin_sholmo_rabbi

Is it more important to devote oneself to personal, spiritual development or to work for the good of the nation? I  believe that a good argument can be made that commitment to the nation takes priority over commitment to one’s own spiritual needs. And one such source is a Midrash (Shemot Rabbah, 2:80), which links… Read More

The Importance of the Past Parshat Korach

Kushner,-Rabbi-Steven

Chadeish yameinu k’kedem, “Renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:21). Perhaps not as dramatic as “Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear” (from the opening sequence of “The Lone Ranger”), but the sentiment is the same. Simply put, the past was better than the present. It’s a common theme for the… Read More

A Second Chance Parshat Beha’alotcha

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb

I was in a total fog during my first year in high school. I entered a strange school, much larger than the one I had attended previously, and was not given the benefit of any orientation to the new environment. I struggled academically and socially. But I knew one thing: I liked to write, and… Read More

Simply, Sadness

Editorial Director

You can tell a lot about a person by how he or she responds to a crisis. The same can be said for a community. Take a look at all of the reactions this week to the worst mass shooting in U.S. history: Among the near-universal condemnation — news reports indicated that at least one… Read More

Daring to Dream

101014_riskin_sholmo_rabbi

There are very few passages of the Bible that are as well-known as the  “Priestly Benediction.” In Israel, the kohanim,  “priests,” rise to bless the congregation every single morning. However, in the Diaspora, the Ashkenazi Jews include this special benediction only on the Festivals. Nevertheless, there are many life-cycle celebrations, such as circumcisions, redemptions of… Read More

Branching Out

This Shabbat, we begin reading the fourth book of the Torah, Sefer Bamidbar. In English, it is called the Book of Numbers because this parshah, also called Bamidbar, begins with a census of the Israelites. It was necessary to count all the men of age 20 and above so that there would be an army… Read More

The Power of Internal Peace Parshat Bechukotai

101014_riskin_sholmo_rabbi

This Torah portion is called by our Sages, “the Torah of the Kohen-Priests” — the religious leadership of  Israel whose task it was to minister in the Holy Temple and to teach Torah to the nation. A public remnant of their priestly function still exists, when the Kohanim bestow the priestly benediction upon the congregation… Read More