The Power of the Mind Over Reality

The Power of the Mind Over Reality

Mar 25, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Tzav

Judaism is a choir of many voices.

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Leadership in Revelation

Leadership in Revelation

Mar 19, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Vayikra

Modernity erupted in Jewish history in 1782 in the garb of midrash.

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The Key to Salvation

The Key to Salvation

Feb 26, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Ki Tissa

The jarring truth about the episode of the golden calf is that it occurred at Mount Sinai.

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Why Jews Light Candles

Why Jews Light Candles

Feb 19, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Tetzavveh

Judaism is hard to imagine without candles.

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The Grandeur and Grace in Our Lives

The Grandeur and Grace in Our Lives

Feb 12, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Terumah

In Hebrew it is customary not to pronounce the name of God as written.

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Reverence for Contradictory Texts

Reverence for Contradictory Texts

Feb 5, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Mishpatim | Shabbat Shekalim

Sometimes the smallest of words contains the largest of meanings.

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The Power to Serve

The Power to Serve

Jan 29, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Yitro

Judaism is an elaborate way of relating to God as the source of existence and the provider of ultimate meaning.

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Accounting for God’s Silence

Accounting for God’s Silence

Jan 22, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Beshallah

In his utterly engrossing autobiography, A Tale of Love and Darkness, which came out in Hebrew in 2002, Amos Oz describes the elderly maidservant in the home of his maternal grandparents in Ukraine as being stone deaf.

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Human Experiences of the Divine

Human Experiences of the Divine

Jan 8, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Va'era

Maimonides’ incomparable twelfth-century code of Jewish law opens with a resounding theological preamble, “The basic principle of all basic principles and the pillar of all sciences is to realize that there is a First Being who brought every existing thing into being” (Isadore Twersky, A Maimonides Reader, 43).

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Zebulun, Issachar and the Importance of Jewish Education

Zebulun, Issachar and the Importance of Jewish Education

Dec 25, 2004 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Vayehi

The enterprise of Jewish education, on which the future of the Jewish people rests, has always been a partnership between educators and patrons.

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Cultivating an Ethic of Responsibility

Cultivating an Ethic of Responsibility

Dec 18, 2004 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Vayiggash

Jewish history unfolds as a dialectic between exile and homeland.

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Varieties of Devotion

Varieties of Devotion

Dec 4, 2004 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Vayeshev

This past week, my two-and-a-half year old granddaughter spotted me one morning davening by the window in our living room. She recognized the telltale signs of the act, my tallit and tefillin. Spontaneously, she announced her intention to daven also, took herself over to the drawer where we keep some old JTS benchers (small grace books), removed one, and proceeded to strut about with the bencher in her face. Later, I found the bencher on the floor in another room, but for a few tender moments at least, I had a precious soul mate in greeting God that morning.

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Conversion: Then and Now

Conversion: Then and Now

Nov 27, 2004 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Vayishlah

During my recent visit to Israel, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision of great import on the subject of conversion.

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The Evolution of Judaism’s Moral Conscience

The Evolution of Judaism’s Moral Conscience

Nov 20, 2004 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Vayetzei

Why does Jacob abandon the security of his parents home in Beer-sheba?

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Drinking the Waters of Torah

Drinking the Waters of Torah

Nov 13, 2004 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Toledot

In rabbinic parlance, water stands for Torah.

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“A Righteous Person Knows the Needs of His Beast.”

“A Righteous Person Knows the Needs of His Beast.”

Nov 6, 2004 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Hayyei Sarah

This week’s parashah presents us with the first instance of a dating service.

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The Past Leading to the Present

The Past Leading to the Present

Oct 30, 2004 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Vayera

The unusual Hebrew phrase “lekh lekha” occurs only twice in the entire Tanakh: at the beginning of last week’s parasha when God instructs Abraham to leave Haran, and this week, when God asks him to offer up his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice (Genesis 12:1; 22:2).

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The Ease of Redemption

The Ease of Redemption

Oct 25, 2004 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Yom Kippur

The redemption of the world is easier than you think. It starts with you and me.

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Abraham: Knight of Many Faiths

Abraham: Knight of Many Faiths

Oct 23, 2004 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Lekh Lekha

It is hard to reconcile the glaring gap between promise and fulfillment in the story of Abraham.

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The Flood and Creation

The Flood and Creation

Oct 16, 2004 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Noah

Midrashim often draw big ideas from the smallest of linguistic anomalies.

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