Israel, Coronavirus & the Sanctity of Life

The Talmud teaches us: “He who saves the life of one soul – it is as if he saved the world entire.” This is exactly how Israel is dealing with the global health crisis humanity is facing. The Israeli Government is not making any political or economic calculations. Israel’s assertive...

Continue reading

Where is Moses?

Our Torah portion this week (Tetzave), does not mention Moses by name even once. This is certainly a striking oddity, since Moses is mentioned by name throughout the entire Torah, from the story of his birth in the portion of Shemot, until the final portion of “vezot Habracha”. Why is...

Continue reading

Enduring Assets

We read this Shabbat about the various materials from which the ancient Israelites built a tabernacle, a portable sanctuary, in the desert. The table in the sanctuary was made of acacia wood. Thousands of years later, Rabbi Judah the pious and his disciples had their own dining tables made out...

Continue reading

Liberating Our Internal Slave

Our parsha seeks to limit, curtail and ultimately move humanity a step closer to the absolute and complete abolition of the sin of slavery. Slavery was tragically pervasive in the ancient world, and as we know – even in our own country, slavery only came to an end after years...

Continue reading

You Shall Not Covet: A Mitzvah for Mental Health

The philosophy of wealth of the hegemonic culture surrounding us, is one of material excess, coupled with a luxurious attachment to the superfluous and the decadent. As such, it also constitutes a sure recipe for a life of constant dissatisfaction, a chronic sense of illusory paucity, and overall existential discontent....

Continue reading

The Death of Kobe Bryant: A Torah spiritual Perspective

The Talmud stipulates that if you hear of a devastating earthquake which killed multitudes of people, in some remote and distant corner of the world, then you should spiritually interpret this catastrophe and tragedy as an urgent call to self, to strive to grow in soul, and to undertake self-repairment,...

Continue reading

Auschwitz: 75 Years Later

Last Monday, three quarters of a century ago, Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army. French scholar David Rousset, deemed the Nazi murder camps as belonging to a distinct ontological category, which he called “L’Universe Concentrationnaire” (The “Concentrationary Universe.”) Israeli novelist Yehiel De-Nur, a survivor, also regarded the reality of...

Continue reading

MLK Day: Judaism & Human Rights

Our week started with MLK Day, during which we paid homage to a great religious humanist of prophetic stature, and to all those who fought for human dignity in our country throughout the 1960’s, and beyond. In this context, it is instructive that the Torah starts with a universal story...

Continue reading

Praying for Iran

Yesterday, while watching the news, I was on the verge of tears. I saw many hundreds of Iranian students, chanting out loud with passion and vigor: “Release our country!” in sacred protestation against their country’s oppressive and vile regime. This supreme act of civil disobedience was perpetrated in broad daylight,...

Continue reading

A Life Worth Living

The title of our parshah is a veritable oxymoron. It is called “Vayehi,” (“And he lived”), while in actuality – “everybody” dies in this parshah. Jacob dies, Joseph dies, and in the haftarah – the prophetic reading – King David dies. All three led dramatic and intense lives. Like all...

Continue reading