Torah Commentary

Noah: No Jewish missionaries, just a Jewish mission.

Although the annual prescribed period for Jews to engage in intense introspection has just passed, it’s always timely to ask ourselves these two questions:  1.    What is the fundamental purpose of my life?   2.&nbs... Continue Reading »
Oct 24

B'reshit: In the (New) Beginning, the Holidays Were Over!

B'reshit: In the (New) Beginning, the Holidays Were Over!
I’ve just returned from celebrating a raucous Shimini Azeret/Simchat Torah holiday (these are the same day in Israel) in Efrat, the only town (pop. about 10,000) among smaller enclaves in the Gush Etzion “block” of Jewish settlement... Continue Reading »

Why Didn't the Israeli Middle Class Protests Succeed?

Why Didn't the Israeli Middle Class Protests Succeed?
Why didn’t the 2011 Israeli street protests succeed?  Last week, I introduced veteran Israel-analyst Jim Lederman and his recent comments about growing consensus in Israeli society. Jim had made a passing reference in his blog to the fa... Continue Reading »

Rejoicing in the Growing Consensus in Israel

Rejoicing in the Growing Consensus in Israel
This past Thursday morning, in my schul’s sukkah after services, I met a young British couple newly arrived on their first visit to Israel.  Returning to our apartments, they marveled at how silent Jerusalem felt on this first day of Sukko... Continue Reading »

Ki Teizei: Parapets and You

Ki Teizei: Parapets and You
A man with no history of medical problems suffers a seizure while driving. His out-of-control car veers onto the sidewalk and severely injures several people. Is he liable?  That question was put to our class on my first day of law schoo... Continue Reading »
Sep 05

Shoftim: "Scout" and Pursue Justice

Shoftim: "Scout" and Pursue Justice
It’s been many years – decades, actually – since I’ve thought about my youth in the Boy Scouts.  As I realize this, I’m at least a little surprised.  I was extremely active in scouting, including serving as a &... Continue Reading »
Aug 29

Matot: A Time for War

Matot: A Time for War
With the Jewish world focused upon “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza, and much of Israel under constant threat of rocket attacks, our thoughts this week inevitably, painfully, turn to war.   We recoil (a verb with ironic double-... Continue Reading »

Balak: Our Messianic Star Power

Balak: Our Messianic Star Power
In a small Russian Shtetl, the community council decides to pay a poor Jew a ruble a week to sit at the town’s entrance and be the first to greet the Messiah when he arrives.  The man’s brother comes to see him, and is puzzled why he... Continue Reading »

Chukkat: Embracing the Double Standard Toward Israel

Chukkat: Embracing the Double Standard Toward Israel
There’s no doubt that the world holds Israel to a double-standard. Why is the media so fixated upon a postage-stamp Middle Eastern democracy when the world is rife with tyrants, atrocities, brutality, and all manner of discrimination? Why are P... Continue Reading »

Korach: Why (Do We) Argue?

Korach: Why (Do We) Argue?
Last week I suggested that a leader’s most important characteristic is dedication to the interests of followers. I thank both my wife and Cindy Jacobson for responding that moral leadership is also key; after all, a leader may use improper mean... Continue Reading »
Jun 18
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A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return.
Jewish Proverb