Angel for Shabbat

Torah and Nature: Thoughts for Parashat Va-et-hanan

There are two basic paths to the Almighty: Torah and Nature. These are not mutually exclusive paths, but are complementary. When we study Torah, we study the word of God. When we experience the beauties of nature, we confront the awesome creations of God. A proper religious worldview entails proper appreciation of both Torah and Nature, and sees the ultimate harmony and unity of both.

Healthy and Unhealthy Controversy: Thoughts for Parashat Korah

The Pirkei Avot describes the controversy of Korah and his cohorts to have been “not for the sake of Heaven.” Their goal was to overthrow the leadership of Moses and Aaron, in the hope of seizing political power for themselves. They did not offer a positive agenda; rather, they preyed on the fears and frustrations of the public. These kinds of controversies are a zero sum game. One side wins, one side loses.

The Dangers of "Echo Reasoning": Thoughts for Parashat Pinehas

It is fashionable in some religious circles to idolize cult leaders and to refrain from (and even deeply resent) any criticism aimed at these great ones. It is fashionable in some circles to foster “echo reasoning”, where it is only licit to speak with others who share the same views, where it is forbidden to hear opposing ideas and critiques. Such circles represent a genuine danger to healthy religious life.