Covenant & Conversation

  • Love Is Not Enough (Vayetse 5775)

    Judaism is supremely a religion of love: three loves. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might.” “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” And “You shall love… read more
  • Was Jacob Right To Take Esau’s Blessing? (Toldot 5775)

    Was Jacob right to take Esau’s blessing in disguise? Was he right to deceive his father and to take from his brother the blessing Isaac sought to give him? Was Rivka right in conceiving the plan in the first place… read more
  • The Kindness of Strangers (Chayei Sarah 5775)

    In 1966 an eleven-year-old black boy moved with his parents and family to a white neighbourhood in Washington.[1] Sitting with his two brothers and two sisters on the front step of the house, he waited to see how they would… read more
  • The Binding of Isaac (Vayera 5775)

    “Take your son, your only son, the one you love—Isaac—and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Thus begins one of the most famous episodes in the… read more
  • How perfect were the matriarchs and patriarchs? (Lekh Lekha 5775)

    In an extraordinary series of observations on this week’s parsha, Nahmanides (Ramban, Rabbi Moses ben Nahman Girondi, 1194 – 1270), delivers harsh criticisms of Abraham and Sarah. The first has to do with Abraham’s decision, after arriving at the land… read more
  • 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