A Legacy of Kindness, Generosity and Love Parshat Chayei Sarah

Ironically, this week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah (“Sarah lived”), is not about Sarah’s life but about her legacy. Beginning with mention of her death and of Abraham’s great mourning for her, the parshah primarily focuses on the Bible’s first story of betrothal, namely that of Isaac to his cousin Rebekah. The relationship between their engagement… Read More

Drawing a Lesson from a Complicated Relationship

The Akeida serves as a model for one of the most important questions in contemporary family life: To what extent should a parent continue to influence, direct or channel their adult child’s life? The Torah offers an insight to this question in describing the immediate aftermath of the Akeida, or binding of Isaac. What happened… Read More

Good Intentions Are Not Enough Parshah Lekh Lekha

This week’s parshah is Lekh Lekha, which introduces the character of Abraham. Abraham is known as a good and obedient man. But I’ve always doubted that blind faith in G-d is the same as being good. Studying Abraham, I found myself asking, “Was he a good person? What were his intentions?” But good intentions aren’t… Read More

Being the Right Kind of Agnostic Parshat Noach

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When it comes to questions of belief, the agnostic is the loneliest of all. On one side of the fence stands the atheist, confident in his rejection of God and often dedicated to the debunking of religion.  the other side stands the  believer, who glories in his faith that the universe is the handiwork of… Read More

The Power of Light Parshat Bereshit, Genesis 1:1-6:8

This week, we read from Parshat Bereshit. Berershit is the first parsha in the Torah. According to the Torah, God created the world in seven days. He separated night from day and light from darkness. “God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from darkness. God called the light day, and… Read More

A Failure of Leadership Parshat Haazinu

This is one of the shorter sections of the Torah, and it is made up almost entirely of a breathtaking and chastening poem. The term “awesome” tends to be overused today, but this poem is truly awesome.  Unfortunately, the power of the Hebrew rhythm and poetic style is lost in the English translation, but we… Read More

Hiding from Ourselves Parshat Vayeilech

The Chasidic tradition brings us the following story: “One day Rabbi Ber was walking with some of his Chasidim when he saw a little girl standing behind a wall and crying. ‘Why are you crying, little girl?’ he asked. ‘I was playing hide-and-seek with my friends,’ said the little girl, ‘and they didn’t come to… Read More

Evolving Religions Parshat Nitzavim

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The Syrian refugee crisis has prompted public debate worldwide, especially in the U.S. presidential campaign, over the issue of immigration. Should a nation’s top priority be to meet the humanitarian needs of people attempting to flee a war zone? Or should it be to emphasize national security concerns stemming from the terroristic affiliations of a… Read More

Don’t Look Back! Parshat Ki Tavo

One of the most beautiful and popular verses in Torah is found in this week’s parshah, Ki Tavo. In the midst of showering the People of Israel with blessings, G-d declares, “You will blessed when you come, and blessed when you go.” Rashi illuminates the meaning of the blessing to each individual: “May your departure… Read More