Covenant & Conversation

  • Beyond Nature (Noach 5775)

    Are we naturally good or naturally bad? On this great minds have argued for centuries. Hobbes believed that we have naturally “a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.” We are bad, but governments… read more
  • The Genesis of Justice (Bereishit 5775)

    There are words that change the world, none more so than two sentences that appear in the first chapter of the Torah: Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule … read more
  • The World’s Most Enduring Moral Voice (Introduction 5775)

    Judaism entered the world as a moral voice. It did so from the beginning, from its account of creation itself. There we read, almost like a litany, “God said, Let there be … and there was … and God saw… read more
  • Vezot Ha’Bracha (5774) – Staying Young

    Moses did not fade. That is the accolade the Torah gives him at the end of his long and eventful life: Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were undimmed and his natural… read more
  • Ha’azinu (5774) – The Leader’s Call to Responsibility

    When words take wing, they modulate into song. That is what they do here in Haazinu as Moses, with the angel of death already in sight, prepares to take leave of this life. Never before had he spoken with such… read more
  • Vayelech (5774) – Consensus vs. Command?

    What do you say to your successor? What advice do you give him or her? Vayelech is the place to look for the answer, because it is here that Moses finally handed the reins over to Joshua, and he and… read more
  • Nitzavim (5774) – Defeating Death

    Only now, reaching Nitzavim-Vayelech, can we begin to get a sense of the vast, world- changing project at the heart of the Divine-human encounter that took place in the lifetime of Moses and the birth of Jews/Hebrews/Israel as a nation.… read more
  • Ki Tavo (5774) – A Nation of Storytellers

    Howard Gardner, professor of education and psychology at Harvard University, is one of the great minds of our time. He is best known for his theory of “multiple intelligences,” the idea that there is not one thing that can be… read more
  • Ki Tetzei (5774) – Against Hate

    Ki Tetzei contains more laws than any other parsha in the Torah, and it is possible to be overwhelmed by this embarrass de richesse of detail. One verse, however, stands out by its sheer counter-intuitiveness: Do not despise an Edomite,… read more
  • Shoftim (5774) – Learning and Leadership

    The parsha of Shoftim is the classic source of the three types of leadership in Judaism, called by the sages the “three crowns”: of priesthood, kingship and Torah.[1] This is the first statement in history of the principle, set out… read more