Perhaps the Torah is teaching us to be attentive to the Leahs and Rebeccas among us. No one should have to die feeling that their lives had been unfulfilled, second best, unimportant to those among whom they lived.
The story of Isaac and Abimelech repeats itself in various forms throughout history. It is a reminder of human conflict and reconciliation, enmity and peaceful relations. It is a story that speaks to us today.
When Abraham died, the Torah informs us that “Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah.” How did Ishmael learn about Abraham’s death? He had been banished many years earlier. Who invited him to the funeral?
The unprecedented pogrom of November 9-10, 1938 in Germany has passed into history as Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass). Violent attacks on Jews and Judaism throughout the Reich and in the recently annexed Sudetenland began on November 8 and continued until November 11 in Hannover and the free city of Danzig, which had not then been incorporated into the Reich.
The people of Sodom seem to have been entirely disconnected from their past, from any social or moral tradition. They were a “me-generation” whose goals seem to have centered only on themselves. Sodom, like other me-generation societies, sowed the seeds of its own destruction.
This article discusses some cases, reflective of the educational approach of many religious schools and individuals, that are symptomatic of serious problems in the way our community transmits Torah teachings. The fundamentalist, literalist position—so vehemently criticized by Rambam—still holds sway among many Orthodox Jews.
The term Orthodox is misleading because it hints at a uniform standard of religious conduct that, in reality, does not exist. When used to enforce exclusivity—the holier-than-thou phenomenon—it can become haughty, condescending, downright mean: ‘I am more Jewish than you.’
The United States of America is a constitutional republic, with a system of governance designed to prevent tyranny of government or the majority. The principles of good governance are rooted in the oral and written laws and traditions of the Torah, embodied in the Bible, Mishna, and Talmud, as elucidated and interpreted by rabbinic commentaries.
One may come to an understanding of God both through the natural world and through the Torah. For the Jewish People, Abraham is our father (Avraham Avinu) and Moses is our teacher (Moshe Rabbeinu)…and both lead us to God.
Dr. Isabelle Levy's recently published book presents a comparison of fictional writings across literary traditions of the medieval Mediterranean. It places secular texts by Jewish authors side by side with works by their Muslim and Jewish predecessors and Christian contemporaries.