Min haMuvhar

Truth, the Whole Truth

Many internalize “truths” because they submit uncritically to ideas promulgated by parents, teachers, or various other authority figures. Even if those ideas are based on error, people continue to believe them, promote them, and denigrate those who reject them.

Righteousness and Self-Righteousness: Reflections on the Nature of Genuine Piety

Religion produces the very best type of people: saintly, humble, compassionate, and genuinely pious. But we cannot help but notice that religion also produces—or at least harbors—the very worst type of people: terrorists, bigoted zealots, and self-righteous egotists. So religion has two faces: one that is righteous and compassionate; and one that is self-righteous and hate-filled.

The Jews of Rhodes and Cos: In Memoriam

This week, memorial programs will be held in Rhodes, marking the anniversary of the deportation of Jews of Rhodes in July 1944. Rabbi Marc D. Angel delivered this sermon on July 26, 2014 at Congregation Ezra Bessaroth in Seattle, Washington, when the community marked the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Jews from the islands of Rhodes and Cos, nearly all of whom were murdered in Auschwitz.

Angel for Shabbat--Hukat/Balak

This week’s Torah portion has the only mention of “the book of the Wars of the Lord” (Sefer Milhamot Hashem). Commentators and scholars speculate about what was contained in this now lost book. Was it a collection of poems in praise of God? Was it a record of the Israelites’ wars? Who had access to this book? Who wrote it?