Shabbat Shira - Beshalach

Posted on January 14th, 2019

Exodus 13:17-17:16 


Rabbi Jonathan Sacks 


The Longer, Shorter Road


At the end of his new book, Tribe of Mentors, Timothy Ferris cites the following poem by Portia Nelson. It’s called ‘Autobiography in Five Short Chapters’:

Chapter 1: I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost… I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in this same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

Read & Listen.

Bo

Posted on January 7th, 2019

Exodus 10:1−13:16 


Rabbi Jonathan Sacks 


The Story We Tell


It remains one of the most counterintuitive passages in all of religious literature. Moses is addressing the Israelites just days before their release. They have been exiles for 210 years. After an initial period of affluence and ease, they have been oppressed, enslaved, and their male children killed in an act of slow genocide. Now, after signs and wonders and a series of plagues that have brought the greatest empire of the ancient world to its knees, they are about to go free.

Read & Listen.

Vaera

Posted on December 31st, 2018

Exodus 6:2-9:35 


By Shlomo Katz for Torah.org


Why Don’t They Listen?


Hashem tells Moshe in this week’s Parashah (7:3), “I shall harden Pharaoh’s heart.” The Midrash Shmot Rabbah comments: Rabbi Yochanan said, “On this basis, heretics can argue that Pharaoh had no ability to repent, as it is [further] written (10:1), ‘I have made his heart stubborn.’ Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said to Rabbi Yochanan, “Let the heretics be silenced. We read (Mishlei 3:34), ‘If [one is drawn] to scoffers, he will scoff,’ [i.e., Hashem allows a person to go in the way he chooses]. This teaches that Hashem warns a person once, twice and three times. If he does not repent, Hashem seals the person’s heart so that he will not repent and instead will be punished for his sins.” [Until here from the Midrash]

Continue reading.

Shemot

Posted on December 24th, 2018

Exodus 1:1−6:1 


Rabbi Jonathan Sacks 


God Loves Those Who Argue 


I have become increasingly concerned about the assault on free speech taking place throughout the West, particularly in university campuses.[1] This is being done in the name of “safe space,” that is, space in which you are protected against hearing views which might cause you distress, “trigger warnings”[2] and “micro-aggressions,” that is, any remark that someone might find offensive even if no offence is meant.

Read & Listen.

Vayechi

Posted on December 17th, 2018

Genesis 47:28–50:26


Rabbi Jonathan Sacks 


What it Takes to Forgive


Joseph forgives. That, as I have argued before, was a turning point in history. For this was the first recorded act of forgiveness in literature.

It is important here to make a key distinction between forgiveness, which is characteristic of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, and the appeasement of anger, which is a human universal. People are constantly harming others, who then become angry, indignant and “disrespected.” If the offender does nothing to turn away their wrath, they will take revenge.

Read & Listen.

Pages