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Ethics

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  1. A Time to Grieve

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on September 5, 2014 in Ethics

    As the fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas continues to hold and war is waged against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), we turn our soul’s attention to Parashat Ki Tetzei. Quite fittingly, this week’s Torah reading opens by teaching one o ...

    stasch - September 4, 2014

  2. To Go Out of the Wilderness

    Commentary by Professor Arnold M. Eisen on September 5, 2014 in Ethics

    This week’s Torah portion is directed at Israelites about to “go out” of the wilderness; next week’s portion offers guidance to those about to “come in” to the Promised Land. Deuteronomy is anxious for the Israelites to build a society distinct from the o ...

    tibernard - September 5, 2014

  3. A Shared Responsibility

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on August 1, 2014 in Ethics

    This coming Shabbat, we begin the fifth and final book of Torah as we read Parashat Devarim, the opening of the book of Deuteronomy. Moses addresses the people in Moab just as the next generation under the leadership of Joshua is about to enter the Land. ...

    stasch - July 30, 2014

  4. Binding and Releasing

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on July 18, 2014 in Ethics

    At the very beginning of Parashat Mattot, the topic of words and vows is addressed. The Torah makes the importance of what one utters abundantly clear, lest there be any misunderstanding about it. Rather than addressing the entire people, however, it targ ...

    stasch - July 16, 2014

  5. Doing Violence for God

    Commentary by Professor Arnold M. Eisen on July 11, 2014 in Ethics

    What are we to think about Pinehas, son of Eleazar son of Aaron the high priest, after whom this week’s Torah portion is named? We learned at the very end of last week’s portion that Pinehas “turned away God’s wrath” against Israel when the people engaged ...

    stasch - July 9, 2014

  6. The Importance of Constructive Action

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on July 11, 2014 in Ethics

    Recall the troubling and cryptic episode at the conclusion of last week’s parashah: the Israelites encamp at Shittim; they are seduced by Moabite women and attach themselves to an idolatrous cult of Ba‘al Pe‘or. As retribution for this act, God commands M ...

    stasch - July 9, 2014

  7. Between Cursing and Blessing, Peace and Truth

    Commentary by Rabbi Tim Daniel Bernard on July 4, 2014 in Ethics

    That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.” Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. And God was very angry when he went. (Num. ...

    stasch - July 2, 2014

  8. Moses’s Misstep: Words Not Deeds

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on June 27, 2014 in Ethics

    With the loss of both Miriam and Aaron, Parashat Hukkat marks a liminal and tragic point in the Israelite wanderings toward the Land of Israel. In the aftermath of Miriam’s death, however, a dearth of water strikes the Israelites. They cry out in great th ...

    stasch - June 26, 2014

  9. Korah’s Fire Pans: Relics of Rebellion to Sacred Lessons

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on June 20, 2014 in Ethics

    Contentiousness, dissent, and upheaval mark the opening of Parashat Korah. Dissatisfied with his status among the Israelite people, Korah leads a rebellion against the leadership of Moses, claiming, “You have gone too far! For all the community are holy, ...

    stasch - June 18, 2014

  10. Unity and Leadership

    Commentary by Rabbi Matthew Berkowitz on June 13, 2014 in Ethics

    At the very beginning of this week’s parashah, Moses organizes a mission to scout out the land of Canaan. As the Israelites stand on the verge of dispossessing the Canaanite nations, God commands Moses to reconnoiter the territory through the agency of 12 ...

    stasch - June 11, 2014

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