For many centuries, Jews became accustomed to an attitude of passivity and defenselessness. They relied on prayers or on material gifts to those in power. In the modern period, Jews have added the strategy of political and military power. Our task today is to maintain a proper balance that includes all three dimensions: prayer, diplomacy, military strength..
Angel for Shabbat
It is altogether fitting that Jews join fellow Americans in observing a day of Thanksgiving to the Almighty for all the blessings He has bestowed upon this country. Jews, in particular, have much reason to thank God for the opportunities and
freedoms granted to us in the United States.
It is really amazing how much calumny is aimed against the Jewish people. The basest lies are spread against us; the vilest charges are leveled against Israel. No matter what we do or how good we really are, it seems we are destined to be vilified.
Coming together as a mahaneh is our way of saving our lives. Coming together as an edah is our way of saving our way of life. Even when we are seemingly at peace, we must see the angels of Mahanaim and be prepared to defend our lives from enemies. Even when we are in the midst of battle, we must never lose sight of the angels connecting heaven and earth.
Joseph is a classic example of the “assimilated Jew”—a person who is alienated from Jewishness but knows that Jewishness is a deep part of one’s basic identity. Should he/she maintain the veneer of non-Jewishness; or should one reclaim the Jewishness at the root of one’s soul?
Angel for Shabbat, Parashat Toledot
by Rabbi Marc D. Angel
""...and by thy seed shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves" (Bereishith 26:4).
Wickedness doesn’t only come from wicked people. It also comes from weak people, frightened people, people more concerned with their own immediate gains than with the long-term needs of society. The Torah’s account of the wickedness of Sodom stands as an eternal warning about what can happen to a society if good people are intimidated into passivity and silence. The story about Sodom is not only about Sodom.
The first chapter of Bereishith presents a lofty, beautiful and poetic account of creation. It does not present a scientific account of creation. It does not describe how God created things, only that He did indeed create the world.
As we approach Simhat Torah, we have some heaviness of heart this year. We read of high levels of covid 19 infections among Hareidi communities in Israel, New York, Lakewood and elsewhere. Even though many Hareidim follow the rules, many apparently do not. Disregard for covid 19 rules not only spreads illness, but gives Torah Judaism a very bad name. Torah Judaism should be characterized by ideal behavior and clear thinking.
The story of the Akedah, the binding of Isaac, is one of the most powerful and enigmatic passages in the Torah. Why did God need to test Abraham’s faith in such a dramatic fashion? Why did Abraham heed God’s instruction to sacrifice Isaac without offering any resistance? Why did the angel of the Lord wait until the very last moment—when Abraham had a knife at Isaac’s throat—to intervene?