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.
“Justice, justice shall you pursue…” (Deut. 16:20) We find this famous biblical aspiration at the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Shof’tim, which continues Moses’ elaboration of the extensive set of laws that the Israelites are to follow, if they are to create a holy and just society.
Parashat Naso includes a passage about the sotah, the "errant woman" who is accused of adultery. It's a complex and problematic part of ancient Judaism, says Rabbi Rick Jacobs, so sometimes it's deliberately avoided.
In ancient times, crimes of blasphemy were punished by stoning - but what does it really mean today to blaspheme? Rabbi Rick Jacobs explains the biblical prohibition against Chilul HaShem, desecrating God's name, and talks about what we are called to do to combat it.