This week’s parashah features the journey of Avraham’s servant back to Avraham’s home turn to seek a bride for Yitzhak. Eliezer (who is not named in the parashah) asks for a sign—Let it be that the maiden who says, ‘drink, and I’ll water your camels too!’ be the one chosen for Yitzhak. The Talmud records an opinion of R’ Yonatan that Eliezer’s prayer to God to be given a sign was an “inappropriate” prayer. A conversation between Ovadya and Rav Ish-Shalom tries to understand the source of R’ Yonatan’s disquiet.View full post
In Parashat Vayera we cease to deal with individuals and begin to deal with nations. God “muses aloud” about whether to confide in Avraham the upcoming destruction of the nearby metropolis of S’dom. It is no coincidence that the destruction of S’dom is foretold in the very passage in which God speaks of Avraham’s descendants’ doing what is just and right. But why does Avraham then try to oppose God’s justice?View full post
When Avraham is told to leave his country, he’s being told to leave behind more than a mere place. The midrash sees God’s command to Avraham as a lesson in self-transformation. Avram and Sarai cannot give birth to children; Avraham and Sarah will give birth to a nation!View full post
Yes, we should do all we can to win our battles; we can’t afford not to. But giving up our values will not help us win. It will only cost us our self-respect and the morale of our soldiers. To take on the values of our enemies is to surrender to them, to become them. Is that what we want to do? Certainly it’s what our enemies want us to do. Many in the Arab countries would love for us to sink into barbarism and so lose both reason to fight and the means of doing so. They know that our flourishing economy gives us a material advantage over any combination of Arab states. But all this is built on love of life, not death.View full post
A Damaged Mirror – Home
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Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo speculates on the implications of resurgent memory in our day. Could it be that we are witnessing the revival of the dead without even recognizing it?
He can’t speak of what he was forced to do to survive the horrors of Birkenau. She is haunted by a memory of something she could not have lived. Together, they must unlock the gates of memory and face unspeakable horror, to find the hope that lies beyond despair.
How do we come to terms with the past? What is responsibility? What choice do we have when all choices are taken from us? How can we accept the unacceptable, and still be who we were? Even if others are willing to forgive, how can we forgive yourselves? How can we know we are truly forgiven?