Torah Columns
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The “Binding of Isaac” is a defining chapter in the story of the Jewish people, inspiring much of our liturgy. In some respects it represents what it means to sacrifice for … more
The Akedah represents the ultimate trial that any parent could possibly bear. It must have been exceedingly difficult for Avraham Avinu, who was the personification of gemilut chasadim. With his … more
There was a coffee shop in the town in which I once lived. It was part of a national chain, so that all kinds of people gathered there for their morning coffee and doughnuts. This particular shop … more
One of the most famous episodes in the Torah is also one of the most morally problematic. “Take your son, your only son, the one you love — Isaac — and go to the land of … more
What do you say to your successor? What advice do you give them? Vayelech is the place to look for the answer, because it is here that Moses finally handed the reins over to Joshua, and he and … more
It was a nasty time in a nasty place: Ramallah, 1988, at Mutzav Sivan, next to the Arab “refugee” camps of Al Bireh and Al Amari during the first intifada. After a week of intense … more
For the parsha with the fewest number of verses in the Torah, Vayelech is quite busy. (Nitzavim has 10 more verses, but it takes up less space in the Torah.) Between warnings of bad that may … more
This Shabbat Shuvah is named after the stirring words of Hoshea that are found in our haftarah: Return, O Israel (Shuvah Yisrael), to the L-rd your G-d, for you have stumbled in your iniquity. … more
Only now, reaching parashat Nitzavim, can we begin to get a sense of the vast, world-changing project at the heart of the Divine-human encounter that took place in the lifetime of Moses and the birth … more
We have all been brought up to believe in the importance of progress. For the past several centuries, the goal of philosophy, religion, culture, and certainly science has been to develop ideas … more
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