Rosh Hashanah with Ishmael

Abraham endured ten trials of his faith, according to Jewish tradition, and the last two involve Abraham’s two sons: he must cast Ishmael out of the camp, and offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. We read about both these trials on Rosh Hashanah; Ishmael on the first day and Isaac on the second. The Akedah… Continue reading Rosh Hashanah with Ishmael

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Non-theoretical truth

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves [and] admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. From the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous   When truth encounters the data of our lives, it gives rise to confession. Truth itself can be pretty abstract, an… Continue reading Non-theoretical truth

Stop Apartheid!

OK, that title got you reading, so what I really mean is "Stop (with the) Apartheid (rhetoric already)!". This morning I counter-demonstrated against a group protesting against Israel, and they had "Apartheid" boldly on display. Now, I admit I can be a stickler for words (I am, after all, an author and blogger), maybe even a… Continue reading Stop Apartheid!

Irreplaceable Israel

We’re in the middle of Elul, the sixth month, which means we’re in the middle of a prayer focus on protection and restoration for the land and people of Israel. The two prayer themes of protection and restoration or return (teshuvah in Hebrew, which also means repentance), are linked in Scripture, as in our theme… Continue reading Irreplaceable Israel

Silence, Shofars, and Elul

When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for what seemed like half an hour (Rev. 8:1, CJB). This week, our Mussar group is working on the virtue of silence (see http://www.rivertonmussar.org), but silence is the last thing you’d expect in heaven. Heaven's the scene of unending, and loud, worship and… Continue reading Silence, Shofars, and Elul