Why Did God Flood the World?

Why Did God Flood the World?

Oct 1, 2013 By Alan Cooper | Commentary | Noah

The end of Parashat Bereishit finds God regretting the creation of humankind and resolving to wipe it out along with “beasts, creeping things, and birds of the sky” (Gen. 6:7). A note of optimism creeps into the concluding verse (6:8), however, with the statement that Noah, whose birth and naming were noted in 5:29, “found favor” with God.

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Species Purity and the Great Flood

Species Purity and the Great Flood

Oct 24, 2014 By Daniel Nevins | Commentary | Noah

Omnicide is a dramatic move, on that we can all agree. But what causes the Creator to grow violently disgusted with the creatures that had just recently been praised as “good” and blessed with fertility?

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Minding Our Words

Minding Our Words

Oct 17, 2014 By Anne Lapidus Lerner | Commentary | Bereishit

On Simhat Torah, we complete the reading of the humash—all 79,796 Hebrew words of it—and when we’re done, what do we do? We roll it up to the very beginning and start to read it all over again. Words, words, words. Devarim (Deuteronomy)—which, of course, means “words”—ends with Moses’s death after the conclusion of his lengthy final oration; Bereishit opens with God demonstrating the power of words by creating the world with them.

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Joseph, Hanukkah, and the Dilemmas of Assimilation

Joseph, Hanukkah, and the Dilemmas of Assimilation

Dec 11, 2015 By Arnold M. Eisen | Commentary | Miketz | Hanukkah

Ruminations about assimilation come naturally to Jews in North America during the winter holiday season. How much should a parent insist that Hanukkah is part of public school celebrations that give students a heavy dose of Christmas? How often should one remind store clerks who innocently ask Jewish children which gifts they hope to receive from Santa this year that there are other faiths observed in our communities, and other holidays?

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The Values of a Jewish Home

The Values of a Jewish Home

Dec 5, 2015 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Vayeshev

A few weeks ago, Etgar Keret, an accomplished author on the Israeli literary scene, made a pilgrimage from his home in Tel Aviv to JTS’s Schocken Institute in Jerusalem to address a group of rabbinical students from JTS and HUC. Among the many thoughtful and reflective insights he shared, he spoke of the need for Israeli society to reflect the best of Jewish values. 

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