Articles

Darkness that Leads to Enlightenment: Thoughts for Parashat Bo

The plague of darkness might symbolize the need to periodically clear our minds and re-evaluate our assumptions. In the darkness and quiet of our inner selves, we can try to shed light on our opinions, values, attitudes and behaviors. An old proverb has it that “no one is so blind as the one who refuses to see.” We might offer an addendum to this proverb: “and no one sees so clearly as the one who has first experienced darkness.”

Sabato Morais, Social Activist

Rabbi Morais understood that the bedrock of social justice is the brotherhood of mankind, and that this recognition carries with it the positive duty to make room actively for our fellow human beings. It is a message that has lost none of its freshness, and it speaks as much to our generation as to his.

What Makes Halakhic Thinking Moral?

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.

Ashkenazim and Sephardim—United in Education

As a young boy growing up in Queens, NY, I always knew that my family’s traditions were slightly different from those of my classmates. Halakhot and practices taught in school, generally speaking, reflected what I experienced at home, but very often my customs were different. You see, my father was born in Afghanistan and my mother in Morocco, and as such, I was raised following Sephardic/Middle Eastern customs.

The Tower of Babel: A Case Study in Combining Traditional and Academic Bible Methodologies

This article on the Tower of Babel offers a “textbook lesson” in combining traditional rabbinic commentary with contemporary academic Bible scholarship. These two approaches begin with different sets of assumptions, but each gives us access to greater meaning in the Torah. Taken together, we emerge with a fuller picture than with either one by itself.