#Commentary

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Jonathan Sacks Between Truth and Peace KI TISSA

Jonathan Sacks Between Truth and Peace KI TISSA Ki Tissa tells of one of the most shocking moments of the forty years in the wilderness. Less than six weeks after the greatest revelation in the history of religion – Israel’s encounter with God at Moun

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RAV KOOK ON MISHPATIM: THE ISRAELITE WAY OF LIVING LAWFULLY

RAV KOOK ON MISHPATIM: THE ISRAELITE WAY OF LIVING LAWFULLY RAV KOOK ON MISHPATIM: THE ISRAELITE WAY OF LIVING LAWFULLY “וְאֵ֨לֶּה֙ הַמִּשְׁפָּטִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר תָּשִׂ֖ים לִפְנֵיהֶֽם:-And these are the la

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Jonathan Sacks – God’s Nudge MISHPATIM

Jonathan Sacks – God’s Nudge MISHPATIM First in Yitro there were the Aseret Hadibrot, the “Ten Utterances”, the Ten Commandments, expressed as general principles. Now in Mishpatim come the details. Here is how they begin: If you buy a Hebr

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RAV KOOK ON PARSHAT YITRO: BECOMING A HOLY NATION BY ESTABLISHING A HOLY GOVERNMENT

RAV KOOK ON PARSHAT YITRO: BECOMING A HOLY NATION BY ESTABLISHING A HOLY GOVERNMENT “וְאַתֶּ֧ם תִּֽהְיוּ־לִ֛י מַמְלֶ֥כֶת כֹּֽהֲנִ֖ים וְג֣וֹי קָד֑וֹשׁ” “And you will be a kingdom of priests a

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Jonathan Sacks – Deed and Creed YITRO

Jonathan Sacks – Deed and Creed YITRO The parsha of Yitro records the revolutionary moment when God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, entered into a mutually binding agreement with a nation, the Children of Israel, an agreement we call a brit, a covena

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Jonathan Sacks – The March of Folly BO

Jonathan Sacks – The March of Folly BO There is a fascinating moment in the unfolding story of the plagues that should make us stop and take notice. At the opening of this week’s parsha, seven plagues have now struck Egypt. The people are sufferin

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Steve Kramer: Israel’s position in the world

Steve Kramer: Israel’s position in the world How are we doing? As good as one could expect under the circumstances (See Note below.)   Feeling paranoid about Israel’s current position in world affairs? If so, that paranoia may be appropriate. Jus

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David Lawrence-Young: The Grimmest 100 days in Israel’s History

David Lawrence-Young: The Grimmest 100 Days in Israel’s History I have just returned home after attending one of the many rallies that were held this morning throughout Israel. I was not a unique demonstrator. Literally, hundreds of thousands of us stop

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Jonathan Sacks – The Birth of History – VAERA

Jonathan Sacks – The Birth of History – VAERA The parsha of Vaera begins with some fateful words. It would not be too much to say that they changed the course of history, because they changed the way people thought about history. In fact, they

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Jonathan Sacks – The Challenge of Jewish Leadership SHEMOT

Jonathan Sacks – The Challenge of Jewish Leadership SHEMOT I used to say, only half in jest, that the proof that Moses was the greatest of the prophets was that when God asked him to lead the Jewish people, he refused four times: Who am I to lead? T

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Jonathan Sacks – Collective Responsibility VAYISHLACH

Jonathan Sacks – Collective Responsibility VAYISHLACH By any standards it was a shocking episode. Jacob had settled on the outskirts of the town of Shechem, ruled by Hamor. Dina, Jacob’s daughter, goes out to see the town. Shechem, Hamor’s son,

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HOWARD EPSTEIN: THE MIND AS THE ENEMY

HOWARD EPSTEIN: THE MIND AS THE ENEMY The human mind is infinitely fascinating: certainly those of the giants of history who invented everything from fire and the wheel down to the electron-microscope and Iron Dome. No less impressive are the thinkers: So

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Jonathan Sacks – Why Did Isaac Love Esau? TOLDOT

Jonathan Sacks – Why Did Isaac Love Esau? TOLDOT   Even before they were born, Jacob and Esau struggled in the womb. They were destined, it seems, to be eternal adversaries. Not only were they were different in character and appearance. They al

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Jonathan Sacks – Abraham: A Life of Faith CHAYEI SARAH

Jonathan Sacks – Abraham: A Life of Faith CHAYEI SARAH Abraham, the Sages were convinced, was a greater religious hero than Noah. We hear this in the famous dispute among the Sages about the phrase that Noah was “perfect in his generations,” mea

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Jonathan Sacks – The Binding of Isaac: A New Interpretation

Jonathan Sacks – The Binding of Isaac: A New Interpretation   It is the hardest passage of all, one that seems to defy understanding. Abraham and Sarah have waited years for a child. God has promised them repeatedly that they would have many de

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Jonathan Sacks – On Being a Jewish Parent LECH LECHA

Jonathan Sacks – On Being a Jewish Parent LECH LECHA The most influential man who ever lived does not appear on any list I have seen of the hundred most influential men who ever lived. He ruled no empire, commanded no army, engaged in no spectacular

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Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig – Israel’s Tactical Calamity; Hamas’s Strategic Disaster

Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig – Israel’s Tactical Calamity; Hamas’s Strategic Disaster “When the Gods wish to punish us, they grant our prayers” (Oscar Wilde). Both PM Netanyahu and Hamas are now learning that lesson. PM Netanyahu’s policy has b

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Michael Shine – To all of my Liberal and Left Wing friends and acquaintances

Michael Shine – To all of my Liberal and Left Wing friends and acquaintances To all of my Liberal and Left Wing friends and acquaintances, wherever they may be, who have already started their chatter about the poor Gazan civilians that will or are s

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Jonathan Feldstein – Why I Am Celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles

Jonathan Feldstein – Why I Am Celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles The Feast of Tabernacles is how many Christians refer to Sukkot, the Biblical festival we are celebrating this week.  It is also a multi-day event known in shorthand as “the Feast

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THE LIGHTS OF RAV KOOK: SUKKOT JOY AND UNIVERSALITY

THE LIGHTS OF RAV KOOK: SUKKOT JOY AND UNIVERSALITY THE LIGHTS OF RAV KOOK: SUKKOT JOY AND UNIVERSALITY “Radiant is the world soul, Full of splendor and beauty, Full of life,  Of souls hidden, Of treasures of the holy spirit, Of fountains of strength,

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Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig – Israel in the 21st Century: Back to Judea and Israel?

Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig – Israel in the 21st Century: Back to Judea and Israel? The Israelite nation started off as 12 tribes, somewhat unified – and then things went downhill, historically speaking. Is the modern State of Israel going down that s

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Jonathan Sacks – The Spirituality of Song HA’AZINU

Jonathan Sacks – The Spirituality of Song HA’AZINU With Ha’azinu we climb to one of the peaks of Jewish spirituality. For a month Moses had taught the people. He had told them their history and destiny, and the laws that would make theirs a

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RAV KOOK ON YOM HAKIPPURIM: THE DAY OF AT-ONE-MENT

RAV KOOK ON YOM HAKIPPURIM: THE DAY OF AT-ONE-MENT RAV KOOK ON YOM HAKIPPURIM: THE DAY OF AT-ONE-MENT “In the depths of the human soul the voice of God calls ceaselessly. The tumult of life can confuse the person so that most of the time they will not h

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RAV KOOK ON ROSH HASHANA: RENEWING THE POWER OF RENEWAL

RAV KOOK ON ROSH HASHANA: RENEWING THE POWER OF RENEWAL  We are beginning the 5784’th year of our human historical experience. Our personal and collective behavior has resulted in a planetary existence that has much good and much bad, many blessings an

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Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig – The Time has Arrived for the Fast of Yitzchak (instead of Gedaliah)

Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig – The Time has Arrived for the Fast of Yitzchak (instead of Gedaliah) The day after Rosh Hashana, the Jewish calendar commemorates the Fast of Gedaliah. Yet, how many Jews know anything about who he was or why we have a Fasti

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Jonathan Sacks z”l – We Are What We Remember KI TAVO

Jonathan Sacks z”l – We Are What We Remember KI TAVO One reason religion has survived in the modern world despite four centuries of secularisation is that it answers the three questions every reflective human being will ask at some time in his

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RAV KOOK ON PARSHAT KI TAVO: CREATING A WORLD ‘FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY’

RAV KOOK ON PARSHAT KI TAVO: CREATING A WORLD ‘FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY’ RAV KOOK ON PARSHAT KI TAVO: CREATING A WORLD ‘FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY’ “When you enter the land that the LORD your God is giving you as a heritage, and you possess

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Jonathan Sacks z”l – The Greatness of Humility SHOFTIM

Jonathan Sacks z”l – The Greatness of Humility SHOFTIM At a dinner to celebrate the work of a communal leader, the guest speaker paid tribute to his many qualities: his dedication, hard work, and foresight. As he sat down, the leader leaned ov

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Jonathan Sacks z”l – The Deep Power of Joy – RE’EH

Jonathan Sacks z”l – The Deep Power of Joy – RE’EH On 14 October 1663, the famous diarist Samuel Pepys paid a visit to the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in Creechurch Lane in the city of London. Jews had been exiled from England

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Jonathan Sacks z”l – The Spirituality of Listening – EIKEV

Jonathan Sacks z”l – The Spirituality of Listening – EIKEV It is one of the most important words in Judaism, and also one of the least understood. Its two most famous occurrences are in last week’s parsha and this week’s: “Hear O

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RAV KOOK ON PARSHAT EKEV: HOW TO FEAR HASHEM FEARLESSLY

RAV KOOK ON PARSHAT EKEV: HOW TO FEAR HASHEM FEARLESSLY In Parshat Ekev- Moshe Rabbenu continues to recount the tumultuous history of Israel and the significant contribution of the Torah’s ‘mitzvot-commandments’ in directing Israel in the path of go

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HARAV KOOK ON TISHA B’AV: REPAIRING THE WORLD WITH THE POWER OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

HARAV KOOK ON TISHA B’AV: REPAIRING THE WORLD WITH THE POWER OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE “If we  destroyed [the second Temple], and the world with us, through needless hatred, we will rebuild [the third Temple] and the world with us, through unconditional

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Jonathan Sacks – Seven Principles for Maintaining Jewish Peoplehood

Jonathan Sacks – Seven Principles for Maintaining Jewish Peoplehood “Hope rebuilds the ruins of Jerusalem. The Jewish people kept hope alive and hope kept the Jewish people alive. That is the message of Tisha B’Av.” ~ Rabbi Sacks    

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Jonathan Sacks – To 120: Growing Old, Staying Young DEVARIM

Jonathan Sacks – To 120: Growing Old, Staying Young DEVARIM On 27 March 2012, to celebrate the diamond jubilee of the Queen, an ancient ceremony took place at Buckingham Palace. A number of institutions presented Loyal Addresses to the Queen, thanki

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RAV KOOK ON ISRAEL’S RESPONSIBILITY TO UNITE THE WORLD:PARSHAT MASEI

RAV KOOK ON ISRAEL’S RESPONSIBILITY TO UNITE THE WORLD:PARSHAT MASEI What does Torat HaRav Kook teach us about Parshat Masei’s significance for our day? The Parsha recounts the Children of Israel’s 42 step 40 year journey from the enslavement of Egy

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Jonathan Sacks – The Complexity of Human Rights MATOT-MASEI

Jonathan Sacks – The Complexity of Human Rights MATOT-MASEI The book of Bamidbar comes to a close that is very strange indeed. Earlier in the parsha of Pinchas we read of how the five daughters of Tzelophehad came to Moses with a claim based on just

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RAV KOOK ON PARSHAT PINCHAS: HOW TO BE A HOLY ZEALOT

RAV KOOK ON PARSHAT PINCHAS: HOW TO BE A HOLY ZEALOT Parshat Pinchas begins by honoring Aaron’s grandson, Pinchas  for his zealous and immediate response to the Israelite male sinning in public view with the Midianite female. “When Pinchas, son of El

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Jonathan Sacks – Moshe’s Disappointment – PINCHAS

Jonathan Sacks – Moshe’s Disappointment – PINCHAS Hidden beneath the surface of parshat Pinchas, the Sages uncovered a story of great poignancy. Moses, having seen his sister and brother die, knew that his own time on earth was coming to a c

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Jonathan Sacks z”l – What Makes God Laugh – BALAK

Jonathan Sacks z”l – What Makes God Laugh – BALAK There is an old saying that what makes God laugh is seeing our plans for the future.[1] However, if Tanach is our guide, what makes God laugh is human delusions of grandeur. From the van

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Rav Kook's Illuminated Torah Understanding on Moses's Fatal Error in Parshat Chukat

RAV KOOK ON MOSES’S FATAL ANGRY ERROR AT THE WATERS OF DISPUTATION AND WHAT WE MUST DO TO FIX IT RAV KOOK ON PARSHAT CHUKAT: In Parshat Chukat, we read: “The Israelites arrived at the wilderness of Zin on the first new moon, and the people stayed at K

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Jonathan Sacks z”l – Healing the Trauma of Loss CHUKAT

Jonathan Sacks z”l – Healing the Trauma of Loss CHUKAT It took me two years to recover from the death of my father, of blessed memory. To this day, almost twenty years later, I am not sure why. He did not die suddenly or young. He was well int

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PARSHAT KORACH: RAV KOOK ON the dangers of KORACHISM

PARSHAT KORACH: RAV KOOK ON the dangers of KORACHISM “Now Korach, son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, betook himself, along with Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—descendants of Reuben—to rise up against Moses, together with

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Jonathan Sacks z”l – The Blessing of Love NASO

Jonathan Sacks z”l – The Blessing of Love NASO At 176 verses, Naso is the longest of the parshiyot. Yet one of its most moving passages, and the one that has had the greatest impact over the course of history, is very short indeed and is know

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Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig – Judaism and Artificial Intelligence: Shavuot Shows the Connection

Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig – Judaism and Artificial Intelligence: Shavuot Shows the Connection What does Judaism have to “say” about Artificial Intelligence (AI)? The question demands attention with AI algorithms running rampant these days: ChatGPT

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Shelly Schreter – How Much Has the Jewish Condition Changed Since 1948?

Shelly Schreter – How Much Has the Jewish Condition Changed Since 1948? The very question provokes indignation, certainly in Israel. 75 years after the founding of the first sovereign Jewish state in almost 2000 years, when Israel is such a success

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Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig – Israel: Wrongly Framed by the Right

Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig – Israel: Wrongly Framed by the Right Responding to massive protests against his administration’s radical “Judicial Reform” program, PM Netanyahu has once again resorted to what he knows best: throwing a derogatory moni

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Jonathan Sacks z”l – The Courage to Admit Mistakes ACHAREI MOT-KEDOSHIM

Jonathan Sacks z”l – The Courage to Admit Mistakes ACHAREI MOT-KEDOSHIM Some years ago I was visited by the then American ambassador to the Court of St James, Philip Lader. He told me of a fascinating project he and his wife had initiated in 1

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Howard Epstein – END THE PRE-OCCUPATION!

Howard Epstein – END THE PRE-OCCUPATION! The Palestinian people – whose greatest enemies are their leaders – lament the “Occupation” and ask when it will end. Their complaint is that the war of annihilation launched against Israel by

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Tsvi Bisk – Israel: Reflections of a Dejected Optimist

Tsvi Bisk – Israel: Reflections of a Dejected Optimist On the one hand, I haven’t been as proud of the Israeli people as I have in the last several months. The massive, immediate recognition of what is at stake, and the resoluteness in refusin

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Jonathan Sacks z"l - The Plague of Evil Speech TAZRIA-METZORA

Jonathan Sacks z”l – The Plague of Evil Speech TAZRIA-METZORA The Rabbis moralised the condition of tzara’at – often translated as leprosy – the subject that dominates both Tazria and Metzora. It was, they said, a punishment rather than

Advice & Self-Help | Advice & Self-Help

Jonathan Sacks z"l - The Power of Praise Vayeshev 5781

Jonathan Sacks z”l – The Power of Praise Vayeshev 5781 Reuben is the leader who might have been but never was. He was Jacob’s firstborn. Jacob said of him on his deathbed, “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my s

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Melania Trump's Malpractice | National Review

This is simply grotesque political malpractice, bordering on sabotage.

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Trump’s Genie Is Out of the Bottle | commentary

An incident involving a speaker for Donald Trump illustrates the way the candidate's attitude has given his supporters a license to express prejudice.

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Prager: Why I Am in Israel — and Why You Should Be | Truth Revolt

I want to explain why I am in Israel. I am in here with 450 American (and a German and a Canadian) listeners to my radio show. About 400 are non-Jews. We are here on a “Stand with Israel” tour organized by the syndicator of my radio show, the Salem Ra