Torah Columns
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These statements — “Religion is good for you,” “A religious person is a mentally healthy person” — could not have been made when I was a graduate student in … more
Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin received the Nobel Peace Prize on Dec. 10, 1978 for signing the Camp David Accords with Egypt. In his Nobel lecture, Begin made the point that peace is a … more
Buried among the epic passages in Va’etchanan — among them the Shema and the Ten Commandments — is a brief passage with large implications for the moral life in Judaism. Here it … more
Our sefer and parasha, Devarim, begin with the celebrated pasuk: “These are the words (aleh hadevarim) which Moshe spoke to all of the Jewish people on that side of the Jordan in the … more
The popular media often accuses the Jewish people of an obsession. Some accuse us good-humoredly of an obsession with food. Others maliciously accuse us of being obsessed with money. I agree that … more
At the beginning of the book of Devarim, Moses reviews the history of the Israelites’ experience in the wilderness, starting with the appointment of leaders throughout the people, heads of … more
The parsha of Matot begins with a passage about vows and oaths and their annulment. It uses vocabulary that was later to be adopted and adapted for Kol Nidrei, the annulment of vows on the eve of … more
It was a typical park bench conversation. I hadn’t seen my friend for quite some time, and we both were delighted when we ran into each other by chance that afternoon. We shook hands and … more
In 1986, an Israeli fighter-plane was shot down over Lebanon; the pilot and navigator, safely ejected from the burning plane, found themselves trapped behind enemy lines. In one of the most … more
Parashat Matos begins with the topic of hafarat nedarim (revocation of vows) by a father on behalf of his daughter, and by a husband for his wife. The general outlines of this mitzvah were … more
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