In the portion of Yitro, we read the lofty words which describe the revelation of God at Mt. Sinai: “If you will obey Me faithfully and keep My covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all the peoples… but you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6); “I am the Lord your God… You shall have no other gods… Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy… Honor your father and mother… You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal” (20: 1-14). Furthermore, these lofty words were uttered in a very impressive fashion: “All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the blare of the shofar and the mountain smoking” (20:15).
Rabbi Dr. Paul Shrell-Fox, Lecturer in Family and Community Studies at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, discusses two concepts as related in this week’s Parasha.
Dr. Ari Ackerman, Outgoing Dean and Senior Lecturer in Jewish Thought at the Schechter Institute, takes us on the path of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook. Rabbi Kook was known for his optimistic, positive attitude towards life. How did he relate to a difficult passage about Amalek in Parashat Beshalach?
Justice is not merely distribution, it is retribution. Welcome to Parshat Bo. The Torah states that Moses, after turning their water into blood, filling their hair with lice, killing their cattle and crops, and doing a variety of other nasty things, not surprisingly became a very big man in the eyes of the Egyptians.
Dr. David Frankel, Senior Lecturer in Bible at The Schechter Institutes, shares with us his fascinating interpretation of the mysterious phrase. According to him, God is elusive; we can never pin him down to a spot or know exactly how to access him.
Rabbi Professor David Golinkin, President of The Schechter Institutes, talks about leadership qualities. Moses was not chosen to lead the Jewish people because of his rhetorical skills, his military prowess or his legislative ability. He was chosen only because he was a pursuer of justice.
Vayigash continues the narrative of Joseph and his brothers, but, unlike in the book of Genesis, there are no miracles or divine revelation in Vayigash.
This is the dual lesson of Hanukkah and of Joseph and his brothers: unity leads to redemption. May we remember this lesson as we light the Hanukkah candles.