Covenant & Conversation

  • The Scapegoat: Shame and Guilt (Acharei Mot – Kedoshim 5775)

    The strangest and most dramatic element of the service on Yom Kippur, set out in Acharei Mot (Lev. 16: 7-22), was the ritual of the two goats, one offered as a sacrifice, the other sent away into the desert “to… read more
  • The Circumcision of Desire (Tazria-Metsora 5775)

    It is hard to trace with any precision the moment when a new idea makes its first appearance on the human scene, especially one as amorphous as that of love. But love has a history.[1] There is the contrast we… read more
  • Fire: Holy and Unholy (Shemini 5775)

    The shock is immense. For several weeks and many chapters – the longest prelude in the Torah – we have read of the preparations for the moment at which God would bring His presence to rest in the midst of… read more
  • Violence and the Sacred (Tzav 5775)

    Why sacrifices? To be sure, they have not been part of the life of Judaism since the destruction of the Second Temple, almost 2,000 years ago. But why, if they are a means to an end, did God choose this… read more
  • Why Do We Sacrifice? (Vayikra 5775)

    The laws of sacrifices that dominate the early chapters of the book of Leviticus, are among the hardest in the Torah to relate to in the present. It has been almost 2,000 years since the Temple was destroyed and the… read more
  • Integrity in Public Life (Pekudei 5775)

    There is a verse so familiar that we don’t often stop to reflect on what it means. It is the line from the first paragraph of the Shema: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with… read more
  • The Spirit of Community (Vayakhel 5775)

    What do you do when your people has just made a golden calf, run riot and lost its sense of ethical and spiritual direction? How do you restore moral order – not just then in the days of Moses, but… read more
  • Can there be Compassion without Justice? (Ki Tissa, 5775)

    At the height of the drama of the Golden Calf a vivid and enigmatic scene takes place. Moses has secured forgiveness for the people. But now, on Mount Sinai yet again, he does more. He asks God to be with… read more
  • The Ethic of Holiness (Tetzaveh 5775)

    With Tetzaveh something new enters Judaism: Torat cohanim, the world and mindset of the priest. Rapidly it became a central dimension of Judaism. It dominates the next book of the Torah, Vayikra. Until now, though, priests in the Torah have… read more
  • The Gratitude of Labour (Terumah 5775)

    There is an important principle in Judaism, a source of hope and also one of the structuring principles of the Torah. It is the principle that God creates the cure before the disease. Bad things may happen but God has… read more