Thoughts on Tu B'Shvat

In modern times, Tu B'Shvat has been revitalized as a time to celebrate the fruitfulness of the land of Israel, the remarkable achievements of modern Israeli agriculture and environmentalism, and the re-foresting of the land. The day is marked by eating fruits grown in Israel.

Amos: The Social Justice Prophet

Social justice lies at the very heart of the Torah. God holds all nations accountable for morality, including Israel. Israel’s being God’s Chosen People places additional responsibility onto Israel to serve as the model moral nation for the world. God rejects religious rituals when they are unaccompanied by a righteous, moral lifestyle.

Free Will?--Thoughts for Parashat Bo

The Talmud teaches that the reward of a mitzvah is another mitzvah while the consequence of a sin is another sin.  We set patterns for ourselves. We initially have free will to choose, and our first choice leads us to our next choice. If we set a positive pattern, we continuously improve ourselves. If we set a negative pattern, we “harden” our own hearts so that it becomes difficult to change for the better.