Covenant & Conversation

  • Appearance and Reality (Mikketz 5775)

    Finally after twenty-two years and many twists and turns, Joseph and his brothers meet. We sense the drama of the moment. The last time they had been together, the brothers planned to kill Joseph and eventually sold him as a… read more
  • The Heroism of Tamar (Vayeshev 5775)

    This is a true story that took place in the 1970s. Rabbi Dr Nahum Rabinovitch, then Principal of Jews College, the rabbinic training seminary in London where I was a student and teacher, was approached by an organisation that had… read more
  • The Parable of the Tribes (Vayishlach 5775)

    From beginning to end, Genesis 34 tells a terrifying story. Dina, Jacob’s daughter – the only Jewish daughter mentioned in the entire patriarchal narratives – leaves the safety of home to go out to “look at the daughters of the… read more
  • 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