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Featured

Raising Children in a Land of Plenty

Raising Children in a Land of Plenty

Aug 19, 2022 By Gavriella Kornsgold | Eikev

The book of Hosea captures the problem of human nature in Parashat Eikev when God proclaims, “I did know you in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. When they were fed, they became full; they were filled and their heart was exalted; therefore they have forgotten me” (Hos. 13:5–6). There are endless historical and contemporary examples that mirror this cycle, such as the immigrant parent who achieves worldly success and becomes worried about the spiritual well-being of their children. Or, to take a scene from popular culture, after the beloved Rocky wins the heavyweight boxing title, he succumbs to the lure of fame, spoils his child, and loses his edge—the eye of the tiger. A close reading of chapter eight in this week’s parashah teaches us how our tradition responds to the perennial problem of raising children in a land of plenty.

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Never Too Late to Get Close

Never Too Late to Get Close

Aug 12, 2022 By Benjy Forester | Commentary | Va'et-hannan

From a young age, I knew I was supposed to like Neil Young. The stereo was turned up whenever his signature falsetto voice came on the radio, and before my bar mitzvah I was taken to see the 2006 documentary concert/film Neil Young: Heart of Gold. My initiation was complete with my first Neil concert […]

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Moses’s Retirement Speech

Moses’s Retirement Speech

Aug 5, 2022 By Raymond Scheindlin | Commentary

Deuteronomy, which we begin reading this week, is devoted to Moses’s farewell to his people. Deuteronomy is preeminently Moses’s book; in it, Moses mostly speaks in his own voice, so that instead of the ever-recurring third-person opening line “And the Lord spoke to Moses . . .,” we read “The Lord spoke to me” (Deut. 2:2). Deuteronomy contains not one but a series of farewell speeches and prophetic poems in which Moses recalls the forty years since the Exodus from Egypt and looks ahead to the future in the promised land.

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Do Women’s Vows Count?: A 21st Century Problem

Do Women’s Vows Count?: A 21st Century Problem

Jul 29, 2022 By Stephanie Ruskay | Commentary | Masei | Mattot

In Parashat Mattot Chapter 30, we learn that if a woman makes a vow, her father or husband can invalidate it on the day on which he hears about it. If he does not invalidate it that day, he is culpable if she breaks it. The only women who can make their own vows and not have them invalidated by a man are divorcées and widows. At other moments in my life, I would have glossed over this section, determined to focus on something more inspiring, and less offensive. Now, I am leaning into it.

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The Liberator and the Zealot

The Liberator and the Zealot

Jul 22, 2022 By Eliezer B. Diamond | Commentary | Pinehas

In his recently published book, The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Struggle for American Freedom,  H.W. Brands contrasts the attitudes of Brown and Lincoln toward slavery, and the methods used by each to end it. In doing so, he makes the case that the terms “liberator” and “zealot” accurately encapsulate the role of each in abolishing slavery.  

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