Should Jewish law lose its ethical moorings, it will devolve into just another set of laws holding no more attraction than any other legal system. Only when halakhah manifests a deep passion for justice and human sensitivity will it secure the allegiance of Jews today. Moral integrity is, therefore, an existential imperative for contemporary halakhah.
On Shabbat, March 25, Rabbi Hayyim Angel will lead another Foundations Minyan at Congregation Beth Aaron in Teaneck (950 Queen Anne Road). It will be a full Shabbat morning service, during which Rabbi Angel adds explanations and discussion before each Aliyah of the Torah reading, and also an explanatory sermon pertaining to prayer.
The service is geared for people of all backgrounds. It meets roughly every six weeks at Congregation Beth Aaron.
Services begin at 9:15, and will be followed by a Kiddush. All are welcome.
Over the past month, I have served as a scholar-in-residence in two different communities in Philadelphia. Under the banner of our Institute, we are spreading our ideas throughout the country and beyond through such programs.
Our return to Zion, to the land of Israel, has been at the aspirational center of our very being—the hope that has sustained our people. This collective hope for return to Israel has sustained us through centuries of marginalization, expulsions, Inquisitions, dhimmi laws, pogroms and ultimately the Holocaust..
Our Institute is offering a pre-Pessah book sale of Rabbi M. Angel's Sephardic Haggadah, and Birkat Hamazon booklet with Sephardic and Ashkenazic texts. Please order promptly; sale ends March 16,2023.
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.
It sometimes feels that we are alone. But we are not alone; we are part of a much larger “kahal,” a community of idealists and activists. Our “kahal” is spread out around the world and includes revolutionaries who work for change, who contribute their time, energy and financial resources. Our “kahal” does not and will not sleep through a spiritual revolution that must be waged.
Encoded in the Book of Esther are the answers to many of our collective, universal questions. How do we build a more just world? What must we do to restore a sense of the sacred to our marriages, homes, and society? How do we rekindle love in our relationship with the divine after heartache and disappointments? How do we become our most empowered selves?
There is a huge gap between the ideal world and the real world. It is easy to lose hope, to give up, to let the broken pieces of the tablets stay broken. It is difficult to overcome defeat and disillusionment. But, like Moses, we need to rally our strength and seek a restored set of tablets.
Genuine love is a special gift. It requires the ability to identify fully with the beloved. The Hebrew word for love, ahavah, derives from the root meaning “to give.” A loving person is a giving person. Imperfect “love” is when one is really interested in one’s own pleasure and advantage, when one is more interested in taking than in giving.