© Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:3 ”Far be it from You to do something like this; to indiscriminately kill the righteous with the wicked… the judge of all the world will not do justice?…” (Bereishit 18:25). Rabbi Levi says: Avraham challenged Hashem:– If you want a world (olam) there cannot be justice; if it is justice you want, there cannot be a world. Why do You hold the rope at both its ends? You want to have both a world and justice! Give up one of them and if you don’t, the world cannot exist. –Bereishit Rabbah 39:6 Rabbi Levi turns Avraham’..
The visions of our tomorrows are limited by the paradigms of our yesterdays. To be able to see this vision we need to shatter some paradigms first. Movement Before saving Noach from global disaster, the Torah informs us what about him earned that right to special treatment; he was righteous and perfect in his generation. But when Lech Lecha, the parshaabout the life and times of Avraham, opens, we are not told why Hashem singles him out and directs him to leave his place of birth. The Ramban (Bereishis 12:3) makes this observation, and the SeffasEmmes (Lech..
Yesterday does not predict tomorrow Timeless values rather than transient, political events are the subjects of these essays. But this week’s events in the United States are not transient and they are far more than political. They call for comment. The US elections are the third event in eight years that permanently changed the course of global history. But there is something even more startling about those events than the changes they ushered in. In all three cases we saw the failure of yesterday to predict tomorrow. The three events were 1) September 11th; 2) the current..
I wasn't planning to write this week. My whole family and I have been together in Israel for our youngest daughter's wedding. It has been a joyous time focused inwardly on family and on personal transformation, on the reshus hayachid (private domain) of life rather than on its reshus harrabim (public domain). But then I came across one of the most powerful and most valuable teachings in the Torah about transformation and about reshus hayachid andreshus harrabim that I felt a compelling need to share with you. The teaching is that ..
Bereishit 12:1 Learning Values Derech Erettz Kadmah LeTorah (Derech Eretz precedes the Torah) means a whole lot more than that being a “Mentch” is a precondition to Torah observance. It means that Torah has a context. Torah does not exist in isolation. Derech Eretz is its context. Derech Eretz means more than being a “mentch”. Derech Eretz means a value system, a style of behavior that a person can figure out themselves without having to consult an Halachik text. And herein lies the problem: I am currently engaged in a consulting project to a wonderful orthodox gir..