Our introduction to civil society begins in our toddler days. “Don’t fight with your siblings,” our parents implored us or there would be consequences. We were taught to share our toys and not to talk to strangers. Every institution has a set of ethical rules to guide our conduct to guarantee fairness and safety-both physical and moral.
Ki Teitzi, translated as “when you go out,” is the ultimate playbook for ethical living. Citing 74 of the Torah’s 613 commandments, the parashah goes into great detail on how we should conduct our personal and professional lives and even...Read More
Women of Reform Judaism, under the umbrella of World Union of Progressive Judaism, addressed the international community in collaboration with Ani Zonneveld, President of Muslims for Progressive Values, and Martha Gallahue, the United Nations Representative of United Religions Initiative at the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference held on August 26-28, 2019. Each year, the United Nations holds a conference for representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for the purpose of furthering the mission of the...Read More
Parashah Shoftim continues Moses’s speech delineating various legal teachings for Israel. It tries to promote justice from within the community. Every member of the community is entitled to the same justice and deserve a fair government. Failure to heed G-d’s commandments will endanger Israel’s future. Justice also apply to the rules of war.
In Shoftim, “justice” is not a single word because it is not a single concept. The double word is its own congruency. That’s the alignment to strive for: justice that is righteous, and righteousness that is just—that is rooted in kindness,...Read More
Imagine the opening scene of R’eih (Deut: 11:26 to 16:17) in which Moses instructed the Israelites “you shall pronounce the blessing at Mt. Gerizim and the curse at Mount Ebal” (11:29). Israelites would say blessings one way (toward one mountain) and say curses another way (toward another mountain) as they journeyed past the two mountains into the Promised Land.
Moses gave the Israelites a mountain load of laws in R’eih. These were social/civic and sequestered/moral laws. Moses taught how it is “A blessing that you obey … a curse if you will not obey” (11:27 & 28).
Living in Los Angeles, much of my time is spent stressed in the car as I grow frustrated with traffic. I found myself in this situation last week as I dragged myself to a meeting across town in the middle of rush hour. Google Maps directed me away from the crowded highway and instead up winding canyon roads. Forty minutes into my drive, my car sat in a traffic jam at the top of Mulholland Canyon. I was absolutely exhausted and simply wanted to reach my destination. In my stress, I almost forgot to notice the beauty outside of my car.
In our Torah portion this week, Eikev, Moses...Read More