On Zealotry and the Pursuit of Peace

Headshot of Rabbi Adam Greenwald
by Rabbi Adam Greenwald
posted on July 25, 2019
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
Our Torah portion this week recalls a man named Pinchas, the great-nephew of Moses, who engages in an act of vigilante violence. The Israelites are in the midst of a plague, brought down by God as penance for rampant acts of sexual immorality. Pinchas responds by capturing a couple in flagrante delicto, and executing them-- stabbing the pair of them through with his spear. Read more...

Rabbi Zushya on Moshe's Transgression

Photograph of Tamar Marvin
by Tamar Marvin, PhD
posted on July 10, 2019
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
To Rabbi Zushya, an early Hasidic master who left behind no writings but many stories, belong two of the most darkly encouraging statements about human purpose: to him is attributed the saying, “Each person should have a coat with two pockets—one pocket with a note on which it’s written, ‘I am but dust and ashes,’ and the other pocket with a note on which it’s written, ‘For my sake the world was created.’” Rabbi Zushya is also credited with exclaiming, tearfully, “When I am judged for the World-to-Come, I won’t be asked why I wasn’t more like Moshe, but why I w Read more...