The Stubborn Independent

Are the values and opinions we hold dear really our own? We all take pride in thinking for ourselves, but are not many (all?) of our personal positions an echo of the culture we were raised in, or drawn from the last social media posting we read? From the shop of...

Was It Me?

We're told in this week's Torah portion that when a murder victim is discovered, the elders of the city closest to the site where the body was found gather and say "Our hands did not spill this blood, and we were not witness to it (Deut 21:7)." They then pray for...

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We’re No Abraham

Is it easy to make a moral choice? Moshe, our teacher, tells us that it is, at least in principle: "See that I have placed before you today 'blessing' and 'curse'. The blessing, if you will listen to the Commandments of HaShem your G-d which I have commanded you...

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To Heel the World

Our reading this week begins with an unusual word in its opening verse: "And it will be that as a consequence [Eikev] of listening to these judgments, guarding and doing them, that HaShem your G-d will guard for you the Covenant and the kindness which He swore to your...

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Wisdom in the Skies

In the Talmud, the Sages tell us to study the skies, or more specifically the calculations of the calendar: "says Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachmeini in the name of Rebbe Yochanon: from where do we know that it is a Mitzvah to calculate the seasons and the months? For it says,...

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Coming off the Back Bench

The Torah portion of Dvarim, beginning the last of the 5 books of Moses, is universally read on the Sabbath proceeding the Ninth of Av, when we commemorate the destruction of both Temples and other tragedies throughout Jewish history. Each week's reading is divided...

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Why Do We Need Window Shades?

The Chapters of the Fathers [4:1] quotes Ben Zoma: “Who is wealthy? He who is happy with his lot.” H’ gives to each person all of his needs, and another person cannot take even a penny unless G-d wants it to be so. So why should we be jealous of the fortune of others?

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