"This is the book of the generations of man (Bereishith 5:1)"
Shalom and best wishes for the New Year. Happy Succoth.
I hope you've received the new issue of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals. Its theme is: Orthodoxy: Family and Gender Issues. Please let me know if you have/have not received it. It's an important issue and I think you'll find it of great interest.
The first section of this Shabbat's Torah reading expresses God's concern lest the Israelites revert to idolatry. As in so many other sections of the Torah, we are warned not to worship false gods. This is a grievous sin with terrible consequences.
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?
Best wishes for a happy, healthy and fulfilling New Year. May you go from strength to strength.
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.
"...lest his heart become haughty against his brethren..." Devarim 17:20
Best wishes to you as the academic year is getting underway. The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals is here to be of service to you; it fosters an intellectually vibrant, compassionate and inclusive Orthodox Judaism. If you have questions or issues you'd like to discuss one-to-one, please feel free to contact me: [email protected]
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?