Covenant & Conversation

  • Why Did Isaac Love Esau? (Toldot 5777)

    Even before they were born, Jacob and Esau struggled in the womb. They were destined, it seems, to be eternal adversaries. Not only were they were different in character and appearance. They also held different places in their parents’ affections:… read more
  • A Journey of a Thousand Miles (Chayei Sarah 5777)

    Our parsha contains the most serene description of old age and dying anywhere in the Torah: “Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to… read more
  • The Miracle of a Child (Vayera 5777)

    There is a mystery at the heart of Jewish existence, engraved into the first syllables of our recorded time. The first words of God to Abraham were: “Go out from your land, your birthplace, and your father’s house . .… read more
  • On Being a Jewish Parent (Lech Lecha 5777)

    The most influential man who ever lived, does not appear on any list I have seen of the hundred most influential men who ever lived. He ruled no empire, commanded no army, engaged in no spectacular acts of heroism on… read more
  • Individual and Collective Responsibility (Noach 5777)

    I once had the opportunity to ask the Catholic writer Paul Johnson what had struck him most about Judaism during the long period he spent researching it for his masterly A History of the Jews? He replied in roughly these… read more
  • The Faith of God (Bereishit 5777)

    There is a deep question at the heart of Jewish faith, and it is very rarely asked. As the Torah opens we see God creating the universe day by day, bringing order out of chaos, life out of inanimate matter,… read more
  • The Spirituality of Song (Ha’azinu 5776)

    With Ha’azinu we climb to one of the peaks of Jewish spirituality. For a month Moses had taught the people. He had told them their history and destiny, and the laws that would make theirs a unique society of people… read more
  • To Renew our Days (Vayelech 5776)

    The moment had come. Moses was about to die. He had seen his sister Miriam and brother Aaron pre-decease him. He had prayed to God – not to live forever, not even to live longer, but simply, “Let me go… read more
  • Not In Heaven (Nitzavim 5776)

    When I was a student at university in the late 1960s – the era of student protests, psychedelic drugs, and the Beatles meditating with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – a story went the rounds. An American Jewish woman in her… read more
  • We Are What We Remember (Ki Tavo 5776)

    One reason religion has survived in the modern world despite four centuries of secularisation is that it answers the three questions every reflective human being will ask at some time in his or her life: Who am I? Why am… read more