It’s Alright to Cry

It’s Alright to Cry

Dec 7, 2002 By Shuly Rubin Schwartz | Commentary | Miketz

In the 1970’s football star Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier sang “It’s Alright to Cry” on the landmark record album “Free to Be You and Me,” produced by Marlo Thomas. The former New York Giants defensive tackle told us, in the Carol Hall song, that “crying gets the sad out of you. It’s all right to cry; it might make you feel better.” Feminism had arrived in America, and men — including football stars with feminine nicknames – were permitted, even encouraged, to show their emotions and cry.

Read More
The Fortitude of the Jewish Soul

The Fortitude of the Jewish Soul

Dec 15, 2001 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Miketz | Hanukkah

This year I will not be celebrating Hanukkah at home. I’m off to Israel on December 6, and will not be back till the seventh day of the festival, just in time to light a full complement of eight candles on the last night in the midst of family. It is hard to capture the beauty of this holiday or any other on your own. Neither synagogue nor prayer begins to exhaust the repertoire of ritual that enlivens the distinctive character of every Jewish holy day. The home is the great aquifer of our Judaism, indispensable but undervalued.

Read More
Revelation or Interpretation?

Revelation or Interpretation?

Dec 30, 2000 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Miketz

The Rabbis tend to curb the revelatory role of dreams. As a vehicle of extrasensory perception, they would contend, dreams tell us more about what’s on our mind than on God’s. In the early third century, R. Yonatan, a first generation Palestinian Amora, delivered an opinion worthy of Freud: “Dreams convey to us only that which we are already thinking about during the day.” He based himself on a careful reading of the experience of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian conqueror of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.E. According to the book of Daniel, the king, like most of us, had forgotten his dream by the time he awoke. But greatly agitated by its effect, he demanded of the sages of his realm to recover the dream and then interpret it, a task which threw them into consternation. The exiled Jewish courtier, Daniel, however, with God’s help, met the challenge.

Read More
Memory and Reconciliation

Memory and Reconciliation

Dec 11, 1999 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Miketz

What ought to be the role of memory in our lives is the conundrum that lies at the heart of this week’s parasha. Just how much of our experience is retained by us, or should be? Is mental health better served by remembering or forgetting? How deep must we dredge into the sediment of our minds to retain or regain the ability to function? A recent study of women on welfare, immune to the prescriptions of tough love, showed how many were once the victims of constant child abuse, which left untreated, impaired them for life. They needed to be healed before they could be restored to the work force. In the narrative form the Torah takes up this subject subtly but profoundly.

Read More
“By Spirit Alone”

“By Spirit Alone”

Dec 19, 1998 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Miketz | Hanukkah

Judaism shuns the celebration of military victory. The conquest of Canaan by Joshua was never transmuted into a holy day. Passover commemorates our redemption from Egypt; Shavuot, the giving of the Torah at Sinai; Tisha B’Av, the destruction of the Temples; but the demolition of Jericho by Joshua or the final achievement of sovereignty with the erection of the national shrine at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1) find no place in the religious calendar of Judaism.

Read More
The Potential of Tiny Things

The Potential of Tiny Things

Dec 27, 1997 By Joseph Lukinsky (<em>z”l</em>) | Commentary | Miketz | Hanukkah

Every time you eat a latke or a sufganiah (jelly doughnut in Israel) during Hanukkah, you are reenacting the miracle of the cruse of oil that the Maccabees found when they struggled to rededicate the Temple. There was only enough oil for one day, but it lasted for eight! A little oil goes a long way!

Read More
The Burden of Peoplehood

The Burden of Peoplehood

Dec 4, 1994 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Miketz | Hanukkah

Sold into slavery at the age of 17, Joseph attained the post of vizier of Egypt by the time he was 30. That would have been a remarkable feat by a native; for a foreigner, it simply boggles the mind. Only Pharaoh stood between him and absolute power. Joseph had deciphered Pharaoh’s premonition of catastrophe and urged decisive action on a national scale. And Pharaoh rewarded the messenger by appointing him to carry out his own counsel. He also bestowed upon him all the trappings of power, including an arranged marriage with the daughter of an Egyptian priest.

Read More
Not by Might

Not by Might

Dec 11, 1993 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Miketz | Hanukkah

It is a remarkable tribute to the genius of the Jewish calendar that parashat mikaytz always coincides with Shabbat Hanukkah. The contents of both, I shall argue, deserve to be linked.

But let me start off on a personal note. Hanukkah has always held a special meaning for me and my family. On November 3, 1938, I turned three. Six days later, on the infamous night of Kristallnacht, the Nazis unleashed their fury on the synagogues of Germany, including the magnificent Romanesque synagogue of my father in Hanover. Like thousands of other prominent Jews, he was carted off to a concentration camp, to be released only two weeks later when family in England secured a visa for us with the help of the Chief Rabbi, Joseph Hertz, known to you best as the editor of the Hertz Humash.

Read More
Miketz

Miketz

Jan 1, 1980

15 Then Solomon awoke: it was a dream! He went to Jerusalem, stood before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented offerings of well-being; and he made a banquet for all his courtiers.

Read More
Miketz

Miketz

Jan 1, 1980

1 After two years’ time, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile, 

Read More
Reset Search

SUBSCRIBE TO TORAH FROM JTS

Our regular commentaries and videos are a great way to stay intellectually and spiritually engaged with Jewish thought and wisdom.