Are We Architects of Our Own fate?

Photograph of Tamar Marvin
5779
by Tamar Marvin, PhD
posted on August 21, 2019
A central theme of Parashat Eikev is contingency: that a person’s fate is predicated on their actions, and the future is not yet written. A core problem occupying medieval philosophers, including the classical Torah commentators, the question of causality continues to fascinate—and elude—us today. In our own time, it tends to be scientists who explore the way that cause and effect play out in time. Physicists debate the linearity of time, with some advancing the block universe theory in which causality is an illusion created by human cognitive processes. Read more...

Deliberate Remembering

Photograph of Elianna Yolkut
5777
by Rabbi Elianna Yolkut
posted on August 10, 2017
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
Humans have a strong capacity for remembering things which we would happily forget: embarrassing childhood memories, awkward moments in our dating life and when our own children repeat a private family story. We might even wish away memories of moments of tensions amongst friend we would have rather not seen. However, even if we could forget, edit out our most painful experiences would we really do so? Do you remember the movieEternal Sunshine on a Spotless Mind, which is a pop culture reflection on the adverse consequences of deliberate forgetting. Read more...

God Loves Us

Headshot of Elliot Dorff
5776
by Rabbi Elliot Dorff, PhD
posted on August 20, 2016
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God demand of you? Only this: to revere the Lord your God, to walk only in His paths, to love Him, and serve the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, keeping the Lord’s commandments and law, which I enjoin upon you today, for your good. Mark, the heavens to their uttermost reaches belong to the Lord your God, the earth and all that is on it! Read more...

True Power is Compassion

Headshot of Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
5764
by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
posted on August 21, 2014
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
I’ve often marveled at the designation “the Great” in the history books tracing the development of Western Civilization.  Consider with me those august individuals who carry that appellation: Alexander the Great, Herod the Great, Charlemagne (which means Charlie the Great), Catherine the Great, Peter the Great.  In truth, the only trait that links these people, one to another, is their ruthlessness, their despotism, and the fact that they were responsible for the deaths of many, many innocents.  “Great”, apparently, is a term for mass murderers who possess power. Read more...