Vayera: Sarah UnderstoodThe sacrifice of Isaac is as elusive as ever.
The 'Noah Covenant' With MankindNot everyone has to be Jewish.
Sukkot and the Wedding FeastAlas, this is all just a glorious dream - for now.
'On This Day, G-d Will Forgive'Rejoicing on Yom Kippur over G-d's grace.
Signs and Omens on Rosh HashanahConjuring positive prayers for a good year.
Ki Tetzei: Marriage as a PreceptThe meaning of marriage for Judaism.
Re'eh: Seeing the LightThe long climb to become a light unto the nations.
Va'etchanan: The Chosen PeopleWhat is the meaning of the "election" of Israel?
Mas'ei: Zelophehad's LegacyHe merited five very special daughters.
Matot: What Made Moses UniqueWas it a difference in kind or degree?
Balak: Abraham and BalaamHe could have been as great as Abraham, but...
Korach: How to Have a DisputeYou dare not read another view out of the story.
Bamidbar: Torah CourageA conservative, risk-free existence is not genuine
Behar: 'Proclaim Liberty'What does it mean to be free?
CovenantsThe covenant of coercion; the covenant of choice.
Kedoshim: No 'Signs' From GodWe dare not second guess the Divine.
Converting Hametz on ShabbatThis is one of those special years.
<I>Shemini</I>: The Silence After the FireThe most tragic moment of Aaron's life.
<I>Vayak'hel</I>: A Biblical PuzzleIt's almost as if the Torah is testing our nerves.
<i>Yitro</i>: Creative CriticismWe have much to learn from a Gentile sage.
<i>Bo</I>: The Inevitability of RenewalBasic philosophic truths about who we are.
<i>Vaera</I>: Who is Moses?The central characteristic of Moses is his love.
<i>Shemot</I>: A Divine PersonageA concern for universal humanity within Moses.
<i>Vayechi</i>: 'Like Ephraim and Menashe'No silence is more piercing than between brothers.
<i>Vayigash</I>: The Goshen FactorThe word "ghetto" evokes negative images.
Judea and Hellas, Judah and JosephAre Zion and Yavan eternally at odds?
Chanukah and the State of IsraelA case could be made against Chanukah.
<I>Vayishlach</I>: What's in a Name?"Jacob's" personality flaw is fixed by "Israel".
<i>Toldot</I>: Raising Children RightAre Isaac and Rebecca an ideal couple?
<i>Chayei Sarah</I>: Eternal LifeEven after her death, Sarah lives.
<i>Vayera</I>: SacrificesAfter binding Isaac, Abraham's career is over.
<I>Lech Lecha</I>: Lessons Our Fathers Taught UsA moral message in Abraham's Egyptian sojourn.
<I>Noach</I>: Bedlam, Confusion, DispersionThe tragic social isolation of the Tower of Babel.
Sukkot: A Paradox ResolvedFor some, the very idea of religion is paradoxical
Yom Kippur: Do Not Cast Us Into Old AgeWe dare not become old in our thinking.
Rosh Hashanah: UnityWe must blend together in global unity.
<I>Nitzavim-Vayelech</I>: Keep the Momentum UpWhy are we the privileged ones?
<i>Shoftim</I>: Security and SanctificationR' Kahane and I were friends who often disagreed.
<I>Re'eh</I>: Ideologues of Non-InvolvementOn the tension between mercy and necessity.
<I>Ekev</I>: The Majestic Grace After MealsStudy this prayer-blessing in depth.
<I>Va'etchanan</I>: What Does it Mean to Fear G-d?Fear of G-d has the power to truly make one free.
<I>Matot-Masei</I>: The Exile's Good Grazing LandGad and Reuven had forgotten their history.
<I>Balak</i>: Standing Up, AloneThe reason for our miraculous survival.
<i>Naso</I>: The Universal 10 CommandmentsWho is the Torah's target audience?
Shavuot: Reading the ScrollsHow the Hebrew calendar educates us.
<I>Kedoshim</I>: Law-Observing ScoundrelsIs Halacha a maximum or a minimum requirement?
<I>Shemini</I>: No 'Strange Fire' at HavdalahThe "eighth day" is fraught with significance.
<I>Shabbat HaGadol</i>: Elijah's Faulty FaithElijah will attend every Passover Seder.
<I>Vayikra</I>: When a Leader SinsNo one is above repentance.
<i>Vayak'hel-Pekudei</I>: A Faithful RepetitionMoses gives an accounting.
<I>Tetzaveh</i> and Purim: Dressing UpWhy such significance attached to external garb?
<i>Beshalach</I>: Finding Your <I>Bashert</I>Our sages teach us, "It is more difficult for the Almighty to bring two individuals together in marriage than it was for Him to split the Reed Sea." In what way is there any logical comparison between the splitting of the Reed Sea and the making of a <I>shidduch</I>?
Parshat Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16)Can we honestly say that the Israelites conducted themselves properly, with true honesty and integrity? Were they too not guilty of acts of duplicity, disingenuousness and exploitation? What adds insult to injury is that the source of this three day "sleight of tongue" deception is none other than the G-d of Israel, the Compassionate Lord of Truth.
<I>Shemot</I>: Civil Disobedience in the TorahWhen, if ever, does individual conscience override governmental authority? Will anarchy not reign supreme, and central governmental authority fall by the wayside, if every soldier of the IDF decides which orders are proper for him to carry out and when the authority of his Talmudic academy overrides the authority of his army commander?
<i>Vayechi</I>: Our Grandfather's BlessingEvery Friday evening, traditional Jewish parents bless their male children (and often grand-children), "May the Almighty make you like Efraim and Menashe," and their female children, "May the Almighty make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah." Why not bestow the blessing of the three Patriarchs upon our male children?
<I>Miketz</I>, Light and ChanukahThe sainted Rabbi Elijah of Vilna (of the 18th century), known as the Vilna <I>Gaon</I>, notes that if one counts from the very first word of the Bible, <I>Bereishit</I> ("In the beginning"), the twenty-fifth word is <I>ohr</I>, "light," as in the verse, "and the Almighty declared 'Let there be light' (Genesis 1:3)."
<I>Vayeshev</I> and HanukkahThe special religious relationship between father and son is most poignantly expressed by a famous Talmudic commentary on a critical moment in the life of Joseph in Egypt, described in this week's Biblical reading.