One bright sunny morning, back when I was a congregational rabbi, I got a phone call from one of our members, Fred. “Rabbi, I’m so glad I caught you. I know how busy you are, but I just need five minutes.” Now Fred is an anonymous, composite character, but you know what’s going to happen… Continue reading How to help resolve conflict
As we tick off another year of the 21st century, it’s not easy to talk about God. A recent blog I posted cites a New York Times op-ed, “It’s Getting Harder to Talk About God”, which notes, “An overwhelming majority of people say that they don’t feel comfortable speaking about faith, most of the time.”… Continue reading Only God Can Name God
Parashat Shemot, Exodus 1:1–6:1 Most of the Christian world is celebrating the birth of the Messiah this week, and in the synagogue we are reading the early chapters of Exodus, which recount the birth of another deliverer, Moses. Scholars have long noted similarities between the two birth accounts, especially in the version of Messiah’s birth… Continue reading A Deliverer is Born—in Egypt!
After President George H.W. Bush passed away on the night of November 30, one of the first of many tributes to be posted was titled, “The two-syllable word that summed up George H.W. Bush—in the best way.” That word, according to columnist David Von Drehle, is “prudence,” as in comedian Dana Carvey’s Saturday Night Live… Continue reading Prudence, Bush 41 & Abraham
When Avram heard that his nephew had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, who had been born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. During the night he and his servants divided his forces against them, then attacked and pursued them all the way to… Continue reading Courage: the Essential Virtue
And he stood by them under the tree and they ate. Genesis 18:8 When Hashem came to visit Abraham in Genesis 18, our patriarch saw three men and brought them food. They ate, but they turn out to be angels, and angels don’t eat, so the sages explain that they only appear to be eating.… Continue reading Virtue on Display
We’ve just come through a grueling, costly, and often bitter electoral process. We’ve chosen our leaders, or men and women that we hope will be leaders, and this week’s haftarah (Malachi 1:1 - 2:7) provides a reminder of what leaders are chosen for. It begins with a stark contrast between two ancient leaders, Esau and… Continue reading What Are Leaders For?