Angel for Shabbat

University Network of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

We are pleased to announce the establishment of a University Network,
open to Jewish university students looking for an intellectually
vibrant, compassionate, and inclusive Orthodox Judaism. We ask students
to register online on our website, www.jewishideas.org,
and be sure to check the box indicating "student." Students will
receive free subscriptions to our journal, Conversations, and will also be
able to participate in the University Network online discussion group.

Thoughts on Megillat Esther--for Shabbat Zakhor, March 7, 2009

The reading of the Scroll of Esther is a central feature of the Purim holiday. We read it on the night of Purim as well as on the morning of Purim day. We all know the story of how the Jews of the ancient Persian Empire were threatened with destruction, and how they were saved through the efforts of Mordecai and Esther. Yet, there are a number of troubling questions that need to be addressed.

1. Mordecai is described as a strongly-identified Jew; yet, he asks Esther to conceal her Jewishness when going to the king's palace. Why?

The Power of Words

The Power of Words

(A Thought for Shabbat April 5, Parashat Tazria)

by Rabbi Marc D. Angel

The Torah portion this week and next week deal with a mysterious disease/impurity known as tsara-at, usually translated as leprosy. Rabbinic tradition links this malady to the sin of lashon hara--evil talk, gossip. Moses' sister Miriam was stricken with symptoms of this disease after she had spoken inappropriately about Moses.

The Talmud (Arakhin 15b) compares the sin of evil talk to idolatry, adultery and murder.

Faith with Reason, not Blind Faith

Faith with Reason, not Blind Faith

(Thoughts on Parashat Metsora, for Shabbat April 12, 2008)

by Rabbi Marc D. Angel

This week's Torah portion, Metsora, begins with a verse that is repeated many times in the Torah: "And God spoke to Moses, saying." The verse simply could have said: And God spoke to Moses. Why does it add the word "saying" (leimor)?

Rivets, Kashruth, and the Jewish Future

 

Rivets, Kashruth, and the Jewish Future

By Rabbi Marc D. Angel

The New York Times recently ran a story about a significant theory why the Titanic sunk. That great luxury ship struck an iceberg, letting ocean water plunge in. The tragedy resulted in the loss of about 1500 lives. The prevailing theory had been that the hull of the ship had been gashed open by the iceberg. The new theory offers a different explanation.

Thoughts for Shavuoth 5768

Thoughts for Shavuoth 5768

By Rabbi Marc D. Angel

On Shavuoth, we commemorate the awesome Revelation at Mount Sinai, when the Almighty presented the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel. All of the Israelite men, women and children experienced that solemn moment, marking an everlasting covenant between God and the Israelite nation.

Let us imagine that God would invite us to a second Revelation at Sinai, asking all the Jews of the world to attend.

Israel: Dreaming the Great Dreams

Israel: Dreaming the Great Dreams

by Rabbi Marc D. Angel

As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence, we take pride in her incredible achievements; we worry about her many problems; we commit ourselves to her unfolding future. No country on earth has done so much for so many in so short a time--all in the face of implacable enemies who stop at nothing in their efforts to thwart her. We salute the people of Israel. We thank the Almighty for having given us the privilege of living at this special time.