Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Divrei Torah - JewishLink

Parshat Lech Lecha

While the words of the Torah itself can be difficult to decipher, it is sometimes an even greater challenge to understand that which is not written at all. Such is the task that faces Biblical commentators in the beginning of Parshat Lech Lecha. The Parsha opens with God’s first commandment to Avram, in which Avram is told to


Easy Spirituality

Executive Vice President Emeritus of the Orthodox Union

The French poet Baudelaire once remarked that the devil’s greatest success is his ability to convince us that he does not exist.

Whereas Judaism does not believe in the devil quite as Baudelaire does, it does


“Place” of Change

Gandhi, the founder of civil disobedience who ultimately led approximately 300 million Indians to freedom in 1947, famously said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Hundreds of books are dedicated to the idea of change and there are just as many written about the difficulty in achieving it.


Of Porgies, Flounder, and the Whale: Yom Kippur

It was a magical summer, the kind that many of us experienced when we were very young and remember fondly for the rest of our lives. I spent that summer, as I did most of my childhood summers, with my family in the Rockaways, a beach resort in the outer borough of Queens, in New York City.

It was a full year before my bar mitzvah, so I was spared the


Reflections on the Shofar

The sound of the shofar is in the air. The Hebrew month of Elul has come, preparing us for Rosh Hashanah. But this Rosh Hashanah, in the year 5775, will be different. This year is a sabbatical year–a Shmita year.

According to Jewish law, every seventh year the land in Israel must remain fallow. Not surprisingly, this law has inspired much


Trauma And Teshuvah

My graduate training in psychology taught me a great deal. But there were major topics that were simply not part of our curriculum. Interestingly, these topics eventually proved essential for me in the performance of my professional duties, both in the field of psychotherapy and in the rabbinate. I must point out that I attended graduate school over 40 years ago and


Digital Torah: The Great Unifier

I have always been fascinated by large Jewish gatherings and Israel’s national events. Yom Haatzmaut ceremonies, the mass Birkat Kohanim (Blessing of the priests) at the Kotel, the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York, and numerous other such events leave me awestruck. More than the pageantry, I believe it is the sheer number of Jews gathering for a single purpose or


IDF Inquiry: Who Leaked Information to Bennett?

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has instructed IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, to initiate an inquiry against a senior reservist officer who is suspected of leaking unauthorized information to Minister Naftali Bennett during Operation Protective Edge.

The senior officer has already been dismissed from his position because of passing on the information,


Lessons of Equality

For the past several weeks, certain ideas have dominated my consciousness. Don’t worry, these are not obsessive thoughts, and I am not a candidate for a psychiatric diagnosis. Rather, whenever I prepare a speech lately, or sit down to write a column such as this, I can’t help but think about a particular set of political principles.

The principles I ponder


The Good Old Days

It was the kind of thing you would hear from old men. “Things just ain’t the way they used to be.” “This new generation is going to hell in a handbasket.” “I remember when things were different and better, back in the good old days!”

Now that I am becoming a bit older myself, I find that I sometimes parrot some of those phrases. Increasingly, my


Aleinu: Obligation to Fix the World or the Text?

The Jewish obligation of tikkun olamis widely referred to and it is traditionally assumed that the Aleinuprayer is one of the texts upon which this obligation is based. This article will show that a very strong case can be made that the original version of Aleinuread Letakein Olam with a caf(=to establishthe


The Duty of Civilians in War

It seems that war is one of the most common of all human activities. Study history of the human race, and you will not find many years that were not blemished by warfare. Read the literature of the world, and you will find very few books whose pages are not bloodstained. Study the Jewish tradition, beginning with the Bible itself, and you will find very few narratives

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