Angel for Shabbat

Wickedness is a Strange Malady: Thoughts for Parashat Vayera

Wickedness doesn’t only come from wicked people. It also comes from weak people, frightened people, people more concerned with their own immediate gains than with the long-term needs of society. The Torah’s account of the wickedness of Sodom stands as an eternal warning about what can happen to a society if good people are intimidated into passivity and silence. The story about Sodom is not only about Sodom.

Torah for Today: Thoughts for Simhat Torah

As we approach Simhat Torah, we have some heaviness of heart this year.  We read of high levels of covid 19 infections among Hareidi communities in Israel, New York, Lakewood and elsewhere. Even though many Hareidim follow the rules, many apparently do not. Disregard for covid 19 rules not only spreads illness, but gives Torah Judaism a very bad name. Torah Judaism should be characterized by ideal behavior and clear thinking.

Shedding Light on the Akedah Story: Thoughts for Parashat Vayera

The story of the Akedah, the binding of Isaac, is one of the most powerful and enigmatic passages in the Torah. Why did God need to test Abraham’s faith in such a dramatic fashion? Why did Abraham heed God’s instruction to sacrifice Isaac without offering any resistance? Why did the angel of the Lord wait until the very last moment—when Abraham had a knife at Isaac’s throat—to intervene?

Searching for Ultimate Clarity: Thoughts for the High Holy Day Season

Rabbinic tradition speaks of “teshuvah sheleimah,” a complete repentance. This entails not merely repenting for this sin or that sin, or asking forgiveness for this transgression or that error. It means transforming our personalities, transforming the way we lead our lives, seeing our lives organically, comprehensively, clearly.

Biblical Heroes, Imperfections, Truth: Thoughts on Parashat Lekh Lekha

Our great biblical heroes, as well as our great spiritual heroes of all generations, were real human beings, not plaster saints.  They had real feelings, real conflicts. Many times they performed admirably; on some occasions they fell short.  To suggest that anyone is “perfect”—totally devoid of sin and error—is to misrepresent that person and to misrepresent truth.