There are so many really nice, good, religiously observant people, who keep kosher and Shabbat and all the mitzvoth, whose kids go to yeshiva, who learn Torah and dress modestly. All this is crucial—it's who we are and what we need to do and it's keeping Judaism alive. Yet, sometimes, it seems like people lose the center and purpose of it all; a truly intimate, authentic, personal relationship with themselves and Hashem.
Judaism, let it be stated unequivocally, has a different view of guilt: Guilt is a healthy part of who we are. This sounds absurd, even crazy. But give the thought a chance to develop.
Far from being only a necessary skill for entering the work force or getting into law school, literature that includes the broadest possible range of voices and experiences itself fulfills a Torah value. Without it, we would be hard pressed truly to internalize the basic fact of God’s spark in every human soul.
The quest to understand the rationale that underlies the mitzvoth assumes that we should strive to articulate the spiritual messages of the halakha. By affirming our commitment to those laws whose reasons we may find personally or ethically challenging, we ensure that the Torah is, in fact, the source of our value system, and not simply an ancient text that validates the contemporary zeitgeist.
A review of programs--past and upcoming--in New York, Philadelphia, East Brunswick, Teaneck and Boca Raton. A reminder of the conferences and shiurim available on our website and youtube channel.
Moral education must be systemic and systematic. Educators must set the goals and the stage at the very outset, and keep coming back to them and reinforcing them. Children often do not listen to what we say because our words are drowned out by what we do.
Beruriah’s revolutionary insight was to notice the importance of detaching sinner from sin. Only when we resist the urge, ultimately rooted in our competitive desire to feel superior, to spend our energy blaming bad actors and instead recognize the systemic factors that produce bad behavior will we be able to abolish sin from the earth.
Megillat Esther is among the most difficult biblical books to study anew, precisely because it is so familiar. Many assumptions accompany us through our study of the Megillah, occasionally clouding our perceptions of what is in the text and what is not.
This study contrasts the legal rhetoric regarding the abortion issue. What does the plain sense of the canonical library actually prescribe? And what is the view of that version of Orthodox Judaism that bases itself on the intuitive consensus of an elite group of rabbis through a kind of "continuous revelation"?
As is true with all virtues, cultivating courage takes practice. We must come out of our comfort zone to grow. We must learn the art of when to listen and when to speak, when to act and when to hold back, when to paddle to ride a wave, and when to sit back to enjoy the calm waters. Courage allows us to move forward perpetually, and with the knowledge that meaning is found through navigating the tribulations of living a full, active life.