Hearing and Listening: Thoughts for Rosh Hashanah 5770

Suppose that two people were walking by a synagogue on Rosh Hashana just at the time when the shofar was being sounded. The synagogue windows were open, so that both people outside heard the shofar. The first one thought: I wish to be included among those who are fulfilling the mitzvah of hearing the shofar. The second one simply kept walking, having heard the shofar but without paying any particular attention to the sounds. Did either, or both, or neither of them fulfill the mitzvah of shofar?

Lose the Rat Race: Thoughts for Shabbat Teshuva and Yom Kippur

Thoughts for Shabbat Teshuva and Yom Kippur

by Rabbi Marc D. Angel


Dr. Bruno Bettelheim wrote that "today's popular conviction is that life is a rat race." People have become so engrossed in the battles to get ahead materially in this world, that they tend to put aside the claims of the soul.

As we compete in the rat race, we may not even realize how thoroughly we have abandoned our inner freedom, our quest for ultimate meaning. We want to win the rat race even if it means compromising or abandoning the values that imbue life with genuine meaning.

Dissent, yes; Rebellion, no: Thoughts on Parashat Korah, June 27, 2009

Korah foments a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, and is depicted in Jewish history as an arch-villain and trouble-maker. The Pirkei Avot describes Korah's rebellion as having been conducted "shelo leshem shamayim", not for the sake of Heaven. Like many demagogues, Korah appeals to the masses and tries to turn them against the existing leadership. Korah argues: all the congregation is holy--why should power reside only in Moses and Aaron?