Angel for Shabbat

Resisting Religious Corruption: Thoughts for Shabbat Hanukkah

The lesson of Hanukkah is that religion and spirituality need to rise above petty politics. The light of Torah is not spread through arrogant, self-righteous authoritarianism; it is not spread by those who usurp power and who think they are above the law. As the prophet Zechariah taught: "Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts."

Overcoming the Disease of Hatred: Thoughts for Parashat Vayeshev

Joseph’s brothers learned to overcome jealousy and hatred. They learned to escape the “syndrome of decay” that eats away at the fiber of life. They learned that life is not a zero sum game; that their winning did not depend on someone else losing; that all humans could live so much more happily and meaningfully if they adopted a syndrome of love and cooperation.

Optimism and Laughter as Religious Values: Thoughts on Parashat Vayishlah

The Jewish people need to draw on the strengths of each of our patriarchs. Like Abraham, we need a powerful spiritual vision that can transform the world. Like Jacob, we need the strength and courage to struggle and defeat those who strive with us. Like Isaac, we need to be optimists. We need to have calm, wise faith. We need to laugh, and to share our laughter with others.

Confronting Our Enemies: Thoughts for Parashat Vayetsei

In our world today, we confront the Laban and Esau types of enemies. The Labans pose as supporters of human rights—but not for Jews, especially Israeli Jews. They are ruthless in their persistent denigration of Israel. The Esaus are terrorists blinded by hatred.They promote and justify hatred and murder; they rejoice at the shedding of Jewish blood.

Biblical Heroes, Imperfections, Truth: Thoughts on Parashat Lekh Lekha

Our great biblical heroes, as well as our great spiritual heroes of all generations, were real human beings, not plaster saints.  They had real feelings, real conflicts. Many times they performed admirably; on some occasions they fell short.  To suggest that anyone is “perfect”—totally devoid of sin and error—is to misrepresent that person and to misrepresent truth.