Parshat Nitzavim: Choosing Life Every Day

This week’s parsha raises a question that goes to the heart of Judaism, but which was not asked for many centuries until raised by a great Spanish scholar of the fifteenth century, Rabbi Isaac Arama. Moses is almost at the end of his life. The people are about to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land. Moses knows he must do one thing more before he dies. He must renew the covenant between the people and God.
A year later, it was confirmed – this inexplicable hum was in fact Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the radiation left over from the birth of the universe, providing the strongest possible evidence that the universe expanded from an initial violent explosion, known as The Big Bang. The CMB remains one of the most important scientific discoveries in history. In one fell swoop, the Big Bang theory – the theory that the universe had a beginning – displaced the dominant Steady State Model – that the universe had no beginning, that it simply always was.
“Judges and officers shall you appoint for yourselves in all your cities…” (Deut. 16:18)

Because there are no coincidences in spiritual matters the commentators interpret the commandment to appoint judges as a trumpet call to arms issued to all of us.

The Courage to Search: A Tribute To Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

I never attended a single lecture of his. I was never a member of any of the many institutions he ran. I never even met him in person. Nonetheless, I consider myself a student of the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. When I heard of Rabbi Sacks’ passing I still could not come to terms with it. I could not shake the empty feeling of loss.

Identifying Your Life’s Mission

After six months of working for the company, it’s time for your evaluation. You walk into the boardroom, where three designer-suit-clad personnel managers are sitting behind a mahogany desk. The one on the left scans your file, looks up at you accusingly, and says, “I see here that you did not report for work at 9 am one time during this entire period.”

All In Order: by Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Beethoven rose each morning at dawn and made himself coffee. He was fastidious about this: each cup had to be made with exactly sixty beans, which he counted out each time. He would then sit at his desk and compose until 2:00 or 3:00pm in the afternoon. Subsequently he would go for a long walk, taking with him a pencil and some sheets of music paper to record any ideas that came to him on the way. Each night after supper he would have a beer, smoke a pipe, and go to bed early, 10:00pm at the latest.

Nurturing Jewish Values

The Torah relates how the evil gentile prophet, Bilam, is hired by the king of Moab to curse the Jewish people, and how that curse is transformed into words of blessing:

“How good are your tents, Jacob, your dwelling places, Israel,” says the parsha. “Stretching out like brooks, like gardens by a river.” (Numbers 24:5-6).
A year later, it was confirmed – this inexplicable hum was in fact Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the radiation left over from the birth of the universe, providing the strongest possible evidence that the universe expanded from an initial violent explosion, known as The Big Bang. The CMB remains one of the most important scientific discoveries in history. In one fell swoop, the Big Bang theory – the theory that the universe had a beginning – displaced the dominant Steady State Model – that the universe had no beginning, that it simply always was.
“Judges and officers shall you appoint for yourselves in all your cities…” (Deut. 16:18)

Because there are no coincidences in spiritual matters the commentators interpret the commandment to appoint judges as a trumpet call to arms issued to all of us.

Return To Mindfulness

The Call Of Teshuvah Is To Do Voluntarily What Life Does To Us Involuntarily. 

Everyone wants to say they are crushing it in life, but when Elul comes around, it can be overwhelming to see that it’s more like life is crushing us. Don’t Despair! These 5 Mindfulness tips will help you take on teshuva like a Pro.

Love Is A Skeleton Key

Love is a funny thing. Even though most people view it as one of the most important aspects of their lives, they have a tough time defining it. Poets and painters have labored to capture and express its essence through their arts. Scientists and sociologists have probed it, endeavoring to explain its origin and purpose – all with questionable results. How can we be so confused about something so fundamental to the human experience?
For example, if a person with a volatile temper aspires to be less angry, she must change her knee-jerk reaction to events that set her off. In the process of overcoming this negative trait, she must speak and act differently than she was used to doing her whole life. Such effort to break habitual patterns requires not only hard work, but also the desire to be different, to shed the familiar fiery persona.

Parshat Ki Tetzei: Rewarded In Kind

In 1964, Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson, two young astronomers, stumbled on the origins of the universe completely by accident. Sitting at their desks at Bell Labs, New Jersey, they suddenly picked up a strange buzzing sound from their telescope. The noise was emanating from all parts of the sky at all times. Puzzled by the odd signal, Penzias and Wilson did their best to eliminate all possible sources of interference, even removing some pigeons that were nesting in the antenna.

A year later, it was confirmed – this inexplicable hum was in fact Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the radiation left over from the birth of the universe, providing the strongest possible evidence that the universe expanded from an initial violent explosion, known as The Big Bang. The CMB remains one of the most important scientific discoveries in history. In one fell swoop, the Big Bang theory – the theory that the universe had a beginning – displaced the dominant Steady State Model – that the universe had no beginning, that it simply always was.
“Judges and officers shall you appoint for yourselves in all your cities…” (Deut. 16:18)

Because there are no coincidences in spiritual matters the commentators interpret the commandment to appoint judges as a trumpet call to arms issued to all of us.

High Holy Holidays: Chasing Jewish Joy

The National Geographic’s recent article, “High Science,” about the new science of marijuana, features Israeli scientist, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, who was the first to identify marijuana’s psychedelic properties. He named the neurotransmitter that binds to the same receptor in the brain as THC, Anandamide, after the Sanskrit word for supreme joy, ananda. When asked by National Geographic why he didn’t choose a Hebrew word for joy instead, he replied, “In Hebrew there are not so many words for happiness. Jews don’t like being happy.”

Leap of Faith: Taking The First Step Toward Change

When humans grow, they must shed some aspect of their former selves. This demands a painful renunciation, a renunciation of a little bit of who I was last week, of the comfortable skin I am used to calling myself.

For example, if a person with a volatile temper aspires to be less angry, she must change her knee-jerk reaction to events that set her off. In the process of overcoming this negative trait, she must speak and act differently than she was used to doing her whole life. Such effort to break habitual patterns requires not only hard work, but also the desire to be different, to shed the familiar fiery persona.