It is a simple yet profound challenge -- be holy, imitate God in our own lives. It is the fundamental lesson that for Jewish civilization, the ultimate goal of life is not "happiness," it is "holiness."
While the right to self-defense is a principle deeply rooted in Jewish biblical and rabbinic sources, this week's Torah portion actually calls on us to think about how not to stand our ground as we respond to the needs of others.
Enter Jethro, the high priest of Midian, the father-in-law of Moses. He's heard all about God's kindness to the Israelites: the redemption from Egypt, the split sea, the war with Amalek, the manna and the water in the desert.
Love is essential to healing, love is essential to fairness, love is essential to creating the world we want. My whole focus on this changed when I had heard two leaders from the Jerusalem Peacemakers.
Long ago, the Kabbalah knew that creativity was housed in the right brain and analytical thought in the left. The Sefer Yetzirah is a guidebook that explains the tools and techniques that are required to enter these different states.