Hating Hate

Albert Einstein was one of the greatest scientific minds in history. He was also endowed with a broad philosophical outlook on the entirety of being, which propelled him to contemplate and ponder the sheer enigma and wonderment of existence, and articulate poetic statements about the underlying harmony and structure of the cosmos. Here are three […]

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Defeating Defeatism

President Kennedy’s inaugural address is considered to this day to be one of the greatest speeches in the history of American politics. Kennedy did not write this speech all by himself. He was aided by his Jewish speechwriter Ted Sorensen. In his speech, the President spoke about all the great challenges which await not only […]

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One Word, Four Perspectives

The name of our parashah is Ekev. Rashi explains that it relates to the word “Akev” – which is Hebrew for heel, and hence alludes to mitzvoth which a person allegorically “steps upon with his heel” (namely, mitzvoth which might seem to us to be marginal or not so important). Rashi’s commentary thus cautions us […]

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Solipsism and Its Discontents

We are reading a very exciting parashah this Shabbat. Every parashah is exciting, but Parashat Va’etchanan is particularly replete with some of the most pivotal and foundational tenets of Jewish spirituality. Our parashah includes, amongst other things, the verse of Shma Yisrael, the first paragraph of the Shma, and the Ten Commandments. At another point […]

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Why fast on Tisha be’Av?

We fast on Tisha be’Av in solidarity with those amongst us who were expelled from their homes, or dispossessed. We fast in remembrance of those who were baselessly imprisoned, or mock-executed, or executed in actuality. We fast because we dare not forget those darkest of hours and days, in which we knew not, whether we […]

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The Power of Words

Our parshah today starts with the topic of nedarim/vows. The Mishnah dedicated an entire tractate to be issue of vows. Why are vows/oaths so important for us? It is because in Judaism, words are holy and sacred. The world was created by Divine speech, teaches us the opening book of the Pentateuch; the Hebrew alphabet […]

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We Jews are a nation of immigrants. Abraham and Sarah were immigrants. Jacob and his descendants were immigrants. We entered the Land of Israel under Joshua’s leadership as immigrants. For millennia, we Jews were the world’s first global people. Dehumanized and humiliated, expelled and dispossessed, we ceaselessly and desperately knocked on dozens of national doors, […]

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