Category: Religion

Yisro – Consecrated Coercion

Last week, I offered the idea, based on the three Hebrew words, shiluach, yetziah and geirush, used to describe both the exodus account and a marriage’s dissolution, of Yetzias Mitzrayim as Klal Yisrael’s “divorce”...

Help Preserve the Kotel’s Kedusha

The push to balkanize the Kotel Maaravi is, as its proponents readily admit, intended as a step toward legitimizing American-style “Jewish religious pluralism” in Israel. That would be a disaster, not only because of...

Parshas Bo – Enticing the Wicked Son

When the Torah (Shemos, 12:26) recounts the question the Haggadah attributes to the “wicked son,” it states that, when our ancestors heard it, they responded by bowing down in thanksgiving. What were they thankful...

Vo’eira – History’s Foundation

It is interesting that the concept of hakaras hatov, “recognition of the good” that one has experienced, appears not only in the parsha, at the beginning of the Sefer Shemos saga whose apogee is...

Shemos – Against Your Grain

My rebbe, Rav Yaakov Weinberg, zt”l, often spoke of how each of the Jewish forefathers was challenged by Hashem to act in opposition to the very characteristic that defined him. Avraham, whose middah is...

Vayechi – A Singular Kindness

Chesed v’emes, “kindness and truth,” is the term Yaakov Avinu uses to describe what he is asking of Yosef when charging his son to not bury him in Mitzrayim (Beraishis 47:29). And Rashi famously...

Vayigash — Full Circle

The wagons (agalos) that Yosef sent back with his brothers to their father (Beraishis 45:27) were intended to convince Yaakov it was indeed Yosef who was the effective ruler of Mitzrayim. They were, as...

Letter to the NYT About Abortion

To the Editor: Judaism permits, even requires, abortion in limited cases, and responsible Jews cannot endorse measures that give a fetus the same protections as a born child. But, with regard to Sarah Seltzer’s...

Mikeitz – Small, Not Inconsequential

Yosef, who reaches the height of temporal power in this week’s parshah, was originally presented as unimpressive, even vain, the favorite of his father but the lesser, at least as they saw things, of...

A “Certain Sect of People”

People sometimes ask me if writing a letter to the editor of a major newspaper is worth the trouble, considering that having one’s letter chosen for publication is a long shot. I reply that...

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