While religion should be the strongest force for a united, compassionate and tolerant humanity, it is too often identified with terrorism, extremism, superstition, exploitation…and hypocrisy. People commit the most heinous crimes…and do so while claiming to be acting in the name of God. Isaiah Berlin’s concept of pluralism provides a framework to be faithful to our own truths, while being genuinely respectful of the truths of others.
Earlier this summer, Rabbi David Weiss Halivni passed away. He was a foremost Talmudic scholar, a wonderful educator, and a true gentleman. Rabbi Alan Yuter, a student and colleague of Rabbi Halivni, has written an appreciation of the man and his work.
Moral education must be systemic and systematic. Educators must set the goals and the stage at the very outset, and keep coming back to them and reinforcing them. Children often do not listen to what we say because our words are drowned out by what we do.
In the earlier parts of David’s reign, he was famed for executing “true justice among all his people” (II Samuel 8:15). Now, however, his listening to patently unequal narratives to act “even-handedly” dealt a profound injustice to Mephibosheth, rewarded the dishonest Ziba, and, according to Rav, sowed the seeds for the nation itself falling apart.
At what point does charisma become dangerous? In a community (and a wider world) where an elusive quality called “spirituality” is constantly sought as representing the “authentic” in the religious quest, how can the individual, or the community, or the responsible leader, distinguish the teacher with integrity from the predator?
These are the kind of people whose melodies sound old, but are really as new as the morning sun. May our people be blessed to find their special melodies and may we never become so afraid of each other that we fail to sing and share our special songs.
The first and the twentieth centuries were tumultuous times for Jews: the destruction of the Temple and the beginnings of exile on the one hand; the Holocaust and the foundation of the State of Israel on the other. The major common denominator is the rupture of a long status quo and the need to adapt to new circumstances.
Maimonides’ extensive writings are both important and relevant for the rapidly growing field of knowledge: namely, positive psychology. Why? Many people are seeking to gain a greater sense of spirituality in their lives. This article highlights Maimonides’ teachings related to this important new specialty, what its originators have called “the study of character strengths and virtues.”
The book of Eicha (Lamentations) is Jeremiah's eyewitness response to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the accompanying tragedies that befell the Jewish People.In this article, Rabbi Hayyim Angel elucidates the meaning of this poignant biblical book.
Within the Orthodox world, reverence toward heroes and the Sages must be balanced with fidelity to the biblical text, commitment to prophetic integrity, and commitment to truth in scholarship. The Torah teaches both particularistic and universalistic values, and it is critical to adopt both in a faithful religious worldview.