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Torah Wisdom

A Tale of Two Markets

Daniel Raphael Silverstein | Posted 02.03.2015 | Religion
Daniel Raphael Silverstein

In the face of the fragility of life and mighty forces of hatred and fear, many will lapse into denial or despair, making decisions from a place of spiritual defeat. This is not what our tradition asks of us. We are called to fully acknowledge the reality of evil, and lovingly perpetuate life in spite of it.

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.

One Broken People to Another

Rabbi David Seidenberg | Posted 09.29.2014 | Religion
Rabbi David Seidenberg

What is justice, and what is vengeance?

The Aftermath

Tamar Frankiel, Ph.D. | Posted 06.19.2013 | Religion
Tamar Frankiel, Ph.D.

Violent deaths should never happen. But when we are witnesses to such evil, we must engage even more fully with the work of perfecting the world.

Love The Stranger As Yourself

Ron Kronish | Posted 06.18.2013 | Religion
Ron Kronish

We must love our fellow Jews as brothers and sisters in a historic, unique collective family, and we must treat the non-Jew with the same dignity that we would wish and envision for ourselves. This is the real meaning of what it means to be "holy" in the "Holy Land" today.

Pharaoh, Climate Change Skeptic

Howard J. Curzer | Posted 03.10.2013 | Religion
Howard J. Curzer

This week, we read the classic example of a leader who strays from the middle of the road to the edge, and eventually into the ditch: Pharaoh. We in the modern world should take note.

New Year's Resolution: Go Out And See

Rabbi Mishael Zion | Posted 03.04.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Mishael Zion

Inspired by the first parsha of the new year, Shemot, I aspire this year to give a new twist to the most mundane of acts: seeing.

Seeking Wisdom From Our Families During the Holidays: Genesis 47:28-50:26

Rabbi Joshua Stanton | Posted 02.24.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Joshua Stanton

Too rarely do we appreciate these cheery winter holidays as an opportunity for spiritual engagement, life review or reflection. Even more rarely do we pause to realize that the family and friends with whom we spend these celebrations are more than fellow partygoers, but potential sources of inspiration for our lives.

Newtown Massacre: Assuming Responsibility

Rabbi Avi Weiss | Posted 02.24.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Praying is not enough. We must assume responsibility for what has happened in order to ensure that such things never happen again. We must remember, as Edmund Burke famously said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men to do nothing."

The Blessing Of (A Neurotic) Family: Genesis 28:10-32:3

Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Ph.D. | Posted 01.20.2013 | Religion
Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Ph.D.

What was Jacob's special merit that God singled him out and named our people after him? You would think Jacob's chutzpah would garner a rebuke from God, not a reward.

WATCH: My Conversation With The Chief

Yoram Hazony | Posted 01.12.2013 | Religion
Yoram Hazony

In Britain, you meet quite a few Jews who refer to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks simply as "the Chief." It's a bit odd that people speak about him in this way. Yet the title sticks, and I suspect that Jonathan Sacks will remain "the Chief" even after his retirement from his position next year.

The Debate Over Noah: Was He Righteous Or Regular?

Rabbi Aaron Alexander | Posted 10.17.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Aaron Alexander

I am often amazed that a rabbinical debate can cover the globe and last more than 2,000 years. The controversy over Noah's essence as a person is a paradigmatic example of this phenomenon.

Righteous In Your Generation: Genesis 6:9-11:32

Rabbi Susan P. Fendrick | Posted 12.16.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Susan P. Fendrick

In our own time, in our various places, too many of us have too many ways of remaining comfortable. We avoid the call to mindfulness and action that is the heartbeat of the world. How can we hear the voice urging us to serve humanity and all of God's creation?

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.

Renewing Creation: Genesis And Sustainability

Jeremy Benstein, Ph.D. | Posted 12.10.2012 | Religion
Jeremy Benstein, Ph.D.

The human mission is to work, to produce, to develop -- but at the same time to preserve, to guard, to be vigilant that the work doesn't get out of hand. It must remain, in a word, sustainable.

'And This Is The Blessing': Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein | Posted 12.03.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein

We can occasionally see the goal clearly before us, in both scope and time, even though we know we will never actually be able to go there. And perhaps that is the blessing of the name of our portion.

When Do We Have Enough Stuff? Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25

Rabbi Toba Spitzer | Posted 10.07.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Toba Spitzer

The danger here is forgetting -- forgetting where we've come from (our own experience of poverty and oppression) and forgetting that no one person, or one community, creates wealth by themselves.

The End Of The World As We Know It, See Pg. 3

Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater | Posted 08.27.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

We are so overwrought with fear, some of it legitimate, some of it manufactured, that we can't stop and see what is truly happening, even when people point it out to us.

May You See Your World: An Ancient Blessing For Today

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson | Posted 08.26.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson

After studying together all day long, the rabbinic sages would not simply walk out of the Study Hall. No. They ritualized a loving and elevated way of blessing each other every time they parted.

Talking Prayer With Shimon Peres At The Israeli Presidential Conference

Eitan Press | Posted 08.26.2012 | Religion
Eitan Press

President Peres summed up for me a core sentiment of what it means to be a Jew, a people who wrestles with God, when he said, "For me, dreaming is simply being pragmatic."

The Bible Is A Book Of Inclusion And Love

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson | Posted 08.06.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson

The Bible that you hear preached by some is a bible of rules, a bible of rigidity; occasionally, a bible of fear. This is not what draws me to the Bible, and it is important that somebody publicly present a different take.

Confessions Of A Free!aholic

Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld | Posted 07.27.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld

I confess! I am a freeaholic. What is a freeaholic? I am addicted to offering things to other people for free. But there is no such things as a free lunch, so it is time to look at my own behavior.

Parshat Behar-Behukotai: Blessings, Curses And A Shabbat For God

Josh Fleet | Posted 07.18.2012 | Religion
Josh Fleet

When you come to the Promised Land, the earth should rest. A Shabbat to God. Sow your fields for six years. Prune your vineyard for six years. Gather the produce for six years. In the seventh year, give it a rest. A Shabbat to God.

When Is Idealism Idolatry? Leviticus 25:1-27:34

Yehuda Kurtzer | Posted 07.15.2012 | Religion
Yehuda Kurtzer

I fear sometimes that in our efforts to create more just societies, we can become self-righteous, indulging in the idolatrous practice of worshipping our own ideals.

An Unorthodox Cure For Insomnia

Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld | Posted 07.13.2012 | Religion
Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld

I know so many people who have all the pillows they need and yet have trouble sleeping at night; they walk through their lives sleep deprived. What many don't realize is that the Torah already told them why they can't sleep.