Joseph: The Birth of Meritocracy

Judaism came to the world in an age in which hereditary privilege was the way of the world. Princes were poised to inherit their fathers’ monarchical status and become kings, and slaves were doomed to remain subjugated and enslaved for perpetuity. In the Torah, as Nietzsche observes in his book...

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The British Elections: A Jewish Spiritual Perspective

The landslide victory of the Conservative Party in the UK last week, is truly of historic proportions. It is the greatest electoral victory for the Tories since Thatcher’s victory in 1987. For Labour, it is their most crushing defeat since 1935. Prima facie, these elections were about Brexit, with the...

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The Inevitability of Human Suffering

Jacob loses his beloved wife Rachel in this week’s Torah portion. Rachel died young, while giving birth to her second son Benyamin. Jacob is surely devastated. Jacob’s life was replete with tragedy. He had to leave his parental home, and run for his life. He was exploited and manipulated in...

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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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