Genesis and Globalization

Globalization is considered to be a distinctly modern socio-economic and cultural phenomenon. Globalization is about the exchange and transport of individuals, ideas and goods throughout the globe. In this week’s parshah we read about another aspect of globalization – spiritual globalization. The Almighty promises Jacob: “You will spread forth to...

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To Be Blessed With Everything

The Torah states that “God blessed Abraham with everything.” One way to understand this statement, is that Abraham lead a multifaceted existence, in which he experienced all the highs and lows of the human condition. On the one hand, Abraham is admired by his contemporaries as a veritable living legend....

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Living with the Past

God tells Lot (Abraham’s nephew), and Lot’s family, not to look back upon the ruinous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, as they escape from these decadent and vile places to a better life elsewhere. But alas, Lot’s wife fails to adhere to the divine instruction not to completely look back....

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The Blessings of the Jews

Our parashah states that God will bless those who bless us, and undermine those who wish us harm. A quick glance at our tumultuous history, factually confirms the veracity of this dynamic. For example, when medieval Spain was hospitable to us, it flourished. Once it became oppressive, the countdown for...

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Tzadik in a Fur Coat

Noah, the hero and chief protagonist of our parashah, is described by our sages as “A tzadik in a fur coat”. What’s behind this metaphor? The rabbis explain that back in the old country, in the dead of winter, when it was brutally cold and freezing outside, a man could...

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Human Nature: A Torah Perspective

Our parashah ends on a somber and dreary note, as the Almighty is allegorically saddened to His core, and regrets having created Homo Sapiens. Why? Because “Man’s inclination is evil from his youth.” The Torah, unlike some other philosophies, does not believe that we are all inherently altruistic and compassionate...

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The Loneliest Generation

Addressing a crowd of about 200 young professionals last week, I shared with them what I see as the unique privileges and challenges of their generation. On the one hand, I argued, they are the most worldly, successful, and best educated generation in the history of their respective families. And...

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After Yom Kippur

The best way I can describe our communal experience during Yom Kippur, is by resorting to the sublime poetry of the 19th century English poet William Blake, who reminds us that it is indeed possible to behold “Infinity in the palm of your hand, and Eternity in an hour.” For...

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The Fast of Gedaliah: A Warning from History

Many Jews don’t know that the day following Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish minor fast day. A minor fast day is roughly from sunrise to sunset. The fast day for the day after Rosh Hashanah is named after Gedaliah, the Jewish governor of Israel during the time of the Babylonian...

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