Angel for Shabbat

Thoughts for Shemini Hag Atsereth

In Jewish tradition, the number seven is associated with perfection. We have 7 days of creation; Shabbat is on day 7; there are 7 weeks between Pessah and Shavuoth; 7 years in the sabbatical cycle; 7 cycles of 7 years in the jubilee cycle; 7 days of Pessah and Succoth by biblical rule.

But what is the significance of 8? What comes after the holiness and perfection symbolized by 7?

This question is especially relevant in relation to the festival of Shemini Hag Atsereth--the 8th day closing festival. No other festival day in the Torah is tied to the number 8.

Confronting Our Enemies: Thoughts for Parashat Vayetsei

In our world today, we confront the Laban and Esau types of enemies. The Labans pose as supporters of human rights—but not for Jews, especially Israeli Jews. They are ruthless in their persistent denigration of Israel. The Esaus are terrorists blinded by hatred.They promote and justify hatred and murder; they rejoice at the shedding of Jewish blood.

Thoughts for Yom Kippur

Fasting and praying are important ingredients of Yom Kippur and are signs of repentance for our transgressions against God. But, as is well known, Yom Kippur does not provide atonement for sins committed against human beings. Rabbinic tradition has it that a person can expect to be judged by God with the same standard of judgment that a person applies to others.