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The Torah View on The Rights of Victims

From the Garden of Eden onward, the Torah is not supportive of those who seek to avoid responsibility for their actions. The mantle of victimhood that Adam and Eve tried on was ripped away by a G-d who seems just as angry about their attempts to blame someone else, than he was about eating the […]

Man in the Center: Space

In Judaism, time is an artificial construct, made “real” by our own declarations. Remarkably, the Torah teaches us a similar lesson with regard to space! The key unit of length in the Torah is an “amah.”  How long is an amah? The Torah does not tell us. We understand that an amah is the length […]

What if Abortion is Perfectly Natural?

In the animal kingdom, animals kill their offspring. I have seen it myself among housecats as well as chickens. I suspect cats of all sizes do this. Dogs, mice, pigs, bears, dolphins, and baboons practice infanticide pretty regularly. And they do it for reasons that are not illogical! Males kill offspring because the offspring are […]

Art and Making Graven Images

On the Ninth of Av in the Jewish Calendar, we read in the Torah that Hashem’s anger is kindled when we do two things: make a graven image, and do evil. “Doing evil” seems easy enough to understand—Hashem wants us to do good. It is not hard to see why acts of kindness and holiness […]

What is the Point of Deuteronomy?

The last of the Five Books of the Torah is almost entirely Moses’ speech, retelling and summarizing the history of the Jewish people in the wilderness. A key problem is that the retold version of the story changes many significant “facts” that appear earlier in the text. I’ll share just a few examples: 1: In […]

Maintaining Who You Are

We are all influenced by our surroundings, by our environment. And it is certainly a challenge for those of us who work with people who come from very different backgrounds and have made very different choices than we have. It is not uncommon, for example, for modern workplaces to include immodest dress, routine use of […]

Deep Dive: Ruin does not Extinguish Hope

I have often written on how the Torah shows that anything can be turned for good or bad – even the word for “holiness” is first used in the Torah to describe a prostitute. There is a flip side to every person, thing, act or word – and the difference is found in the choices […]

What is the Still, Small Voice?

“And lo, the LORD passed by. There was a great and mighty wind, splitting mountains and shattering rocks by the power of the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind—an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake—fire; but the LORD was not in the fire. […]

Why The Story Matters

Jordan Peterson claims that we need stories because otherwise we cannot find any signal in the noise of existence. That signal lays out the pathway for how we think. Yet there is no provably “correct” signal in all the noise: if anything, the stories that people use to make sense of the world are diverging, […]

How can we Explain Bilaam’s Behavior?

The story of the prophet Bilaam is a very odd one. Paid by the king Balak to curse the Jewish people, he ends up blessing the people instead. But what on earth was he thinking? Why would he have thought that he would have been allowed to curse G-d’s own chosen people? Any rational person […]

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