An Activist Covenant: Lekh Lekha 5781

Destiny is a seductive concept. The idea that our personal and even national history is somehow predetermined can be comforting, especially when hazards abound and the best path forward is hard to discern. Historian Niall Ferguson surveys the tenacity of deterministic thinking among religious and secular thinkers through the ages in his book Virtual History….

Who’s in Charge? Yom Kippur 5778

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…