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God's Business Advice to Moses

Rabbi Yonah Bookstein | Posted 03.01.2016 | Religion
Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

God showed Moses a coin made from fire, teaches the Midrash, showing him the amount that everyone must give towards the mishkan, tabernacle.

What if Cain Killed Abel in Self Defense?

Avraham Bronstein | Posted 10.13.2016 | Religion
Avraham Bronstein

To the rabbis, the story is less a historical event and more a meditation on the human experience. Throughout history, Cains and Abels have battled, and the rabbis force us to consider sometimes uncomfortable truths about the broader story of human relations.

Jacob and Esau: Lessons for Israelis and Palestinians Today

Rabbi Michael M. Cohen | Posted 03.10.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Michael M. Cohen

Both sides have become very adept at viewing all of what the other does as being provocative and mistrusting. And while that can be true with particular actions, both sides have allowed themselves to fall into the dangerous trap of limiting their understanding of the other by such a myopic approach.

The Uncertain Woods of Faith

Rabbi Menachem Creditor | Posted 12.25.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Menachem Creditor

The French Jewish philosopher Emanuel Levinas teaches that what makes Torah holy is its infinite meaning. Holiness is therefore defined by inexhaustible possibility.

Arrogance or Love? The Biblical Story of Joseph

Rabbi Arthur Waskow | Posted 01.25.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Two years ago, my life-partner, co-author, and often co-teacher Rabbi Phyllis Berman and I wrote and Jewish Lights published a reinterpretation of the...

ReNaming God, ReNaming the Climate Crisis

Rabbi Arthur Waskow | Posted 01.23.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Waskow

For millennia, many readers of the Bible (including me) have experienced the moments when the Voice pronounces a new Name to Moses as among the moment...

Flood and Rainbow as Teachings for Our Day

Rabbi Arthur Waskow | Posted 01.23.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Waskow

What follows arose as a poetic/prophetic outcry (even an alternative Haftarah) that has been used that way for the Shabbat in which Jews read the Noah/ Flood/ Ark/ Rainbow passage of Torah.

Earth Day, Arbor Day And Judaism's Environmental Ethic

S.R. Hewitt | Posted 06.22.2013 | Religion
S.R. Hewitt

The environment is sustained by trees, which cleanse the air and stabilize the earth, and the references in Jewish sources to the importance of protecting them are meant to be guidelines for caring for the planet in general.

Does Passover Celebrate The Death Of Innocent Egyptians?

Rabbi Daniel Brenner | Posted 05.12.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Daniel Brenner

Prompted by this question, I returned to the perspectives of the ancient Jewish commentators on the Passover story. I wanted to know: Were they bothered by the death of so many Egyptians?

'Django Unchained' And The Rabbis

Rabbi Doug Sagal | Posted 03.11.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Doug Sagal

The rabbis of old were interested in the why: Why was it necessary for the Israelites to develop their peoplehood in the crucible of slavery? "Django Unchained" is essentially Quentin Tarantino's exploration of exactly the same question.

In The Beginning: God As A New Parent

Alicia Jo Rabins | Posted 12.16.2012 | Religion
Alicia Jo Rabins

If we're made in God's image, could it be possible that our Maker also experienced new parenthood as a crazy challenge, making God vulnerable -- metaphorically sleep-deprived -- and deeply in love with those helpless naked creatures.

Yom Kippur: Forgiving Is Awesome!

Eitan Press | Posted 11.25.2012 | Religion
Eitan Press

When we forgive, we are doing Teshuvah and are able to spiritually stand in that place before creation. Before the past, before the future, we are able to stand in the Infinite present moment in which God is re-creating the world every single second.

The Ambition For Eden

Rabbi David Wolpe | Posted 05.29.2012 | Religion
Rabbi David Wolpe

In the Bible God exiles Adam and Eve and declares that they will never be permitted to return to the Garden. If God's intention was to assure that humanity would be forever exiled, why did God not destroy Eden?

The Quest For Religious Knowledge And The Perfect Manicure

Posted 01.02.2012 | Religion

Every Wednesday, Rabbi Yael Buechler prepares to teach Midrash, the Jewish tradition of Bible interpretation, to 19 middle school girls at a Jewish da...

Was Abraham Misogynistic?

Menachem Wecker | Posted 05.25.2011 | Religion
Menachem Wecker

Richard McBee, a painter, identifies as both a feminist and an Orthodox Jew, and as such, he is very concerned about how Abraham treated -- or rather mistreated -- his wife.

Renewing Abraham's Children In The New Year And Liberating Them From The Old

Peter Ochs, Ph.D. | Posted 05.25.2011 | Religion
Peter Ochs, Ph.D.

What troubles me about last year is connected to what troubles me about Gen. 22:2. The text grates on my ears and eyes because it reminds me that American Jews seem to have forgotten that Ishmael is their great-grand-uncle.

Understanding Midrash

David Shasha | Posted 05.25.2011 | Religion
David Shasha

While the Halakhah, Jewish civil and ritual law, is the stern discipline of Jewish life, the Aggadic Midrash is its fountain of creativity.