Listen to Sarah’s Voice: Lekh Lekha 5778

What does Sarah have to say? She and Abraham were introduced at the end of Parashat Noah, and she is a major character in chapters 12-23 of Genesis. But we hear precious little from her. What is she thinking all this time? When her husband takes their family away from not only his homeland, but…

Sukkot 5778: Speaking of Joy

The Sefat Emet (R. Judah Aryeh Leib of Gur,1847-1905) offers many gems for deepening our understanding of the festival of Sukkot. He opens one drashah with reference to the “joy of water-drawing” ritual (simhat beit hasho’eivah) which was conducted in the Temple on these days. Mishnah Sukkah (5:1) states that, “one who has not witnessed…

Yom Kippur 5778: Who’s in Charge?

An ancient paradox, presented in the name of Rabbi Akiva: הכל צפוי והרשות נתונה (אבות ג, טו) All is foreseen; but choice is given. (Avot 3:15) These four Hebrew words contain the classic conflict between determinism and free will. For millennia, many of the world’s greatest thinkers have struggled to reconcile the sense that we…