Just as the Torah is at the center of Judaism, the ballot is at the core of our democracy. We would not dream of returning the Torah to the Ark without first dressing it. It helps, then, to think of the outer envelope as the ark and the inner security envelope as our ballot’s Torah cover.
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As our students take their steps in the Old City and then head out to Masada where Herod built his getaway and where zealous Jews built a hideaway, I am deeply moved by their reaction to it all.
Taking Torah into the voting booth also means that pikuach nefesh, saving human life, is Judaism’s highest mitzvah, so consider your voting options carefully.
Do we see ourselves and this moment as grasshoppers, or do we jump on top of our chairs and say “Yachol nuchal, surely we can overcome this”?
We hear the story of Jonah on Yom Kippur, as an example of the power of repentance and redemption. But my favorite thing about this story is how perfectly messy it is to heed God's call.
As we no longer serve God through temple sacrifices, many Jews have come to understand the entire world, in essence, to be God’s temple. This year, I believe we have vandalized God’s temple with the blood of the innocent.
"If I were to sum up what I learned after five years of working on this book, it is this: Transitions work. When life gets us stuck, a life transition is the means of getting unstuck."
Long before I became a rabbi, I was a DJ and a hip-hop-head. Music always scored my life, and for years I've wondered, "How can that music be harnessed for religious practice?"
Rabbi Max Chaiken, our Ten Minutes of Torah commentator for the Book of Deuteronomy, is the associate rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami in Los Angeles, CA. We talk to him about his Jewish journey and the ideas behind his commentaries.
At its heart, this is a religion which holds dear the idea of connection – of belongingness. To each other, to self, to your understanding of God. What you bring matters.