Rabbi Michael Rosenberg, Professor of Rabbinics at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College, taught this session on Autonomy, Community, and Everything in Between: Halakhic Sources on Aiding Others in Transgression (Lifnei Iver) at Ta Sh’ma, the Rabbinical School’s Open House & Day of Learning for prospective rabbinical students. Download the lesson print materials here.
Shabbat can function as a break from the unbearably real. We spend our week not only consumed by our personal struggles, large and small, but also tuned to the news, sometimes stunned by, sometimes merely inured to, the near-constant reminders of how broken is the world in which we dwell. Then come the 25 hours of respite that Shabbat provides. For those, me included, who have the practice of disconnecting… Read Article →
Parshat Metzora, Leviticus 14:1-15:3 I am an unabashed lover of Leviticus. And not just the “Be holy,” “Love your neighbor as yourself” second half of Leviticus, but especially the “slaughter the cow…sprinkle its blood” first half. “Be holy” sounds great, but what does it actually mean? What am I supposed to do to fulfill this vague entreaty? But the first half of Leviticus, which deals with how to perform sacrifices… Read Article →
Yesterday President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to be the next Supreme Court justice. The Hebrew College community blog is not the place for discussing the judicial or political merits or shortcomings of this announcement, but one thing has been filling my Facebook feed that is worth thinking about here: if confirmed, Garland would be the fourth Jewish justice on the Court. To be sure, there is good reason for ethnic… Read Article →
My family and I are fortunate to be spending about three weeks in Israel right now—an ambiguous amount of time, longer than a vacation, but at the same time clearly not “living” here. We meander through our lives here, sometimes (as now) getting work done in a local café, sometimes taking our kids to the Biblical Zoo; sometimes getting together with old friends whom we see all too rarely, sometimes… Read Article →
Parshat Hayyei Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18 Last year this time, my Facebook feed blew up with an article in The Atlantic written by the physician and bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel. Emanuel argued that many Americans were unnecessarily extending their lives, sacrificing quality of life for quantity, spending the last years of their lives physically and mentally deteriorating, in hospitals and nursing homes for unnaturally long stretches of time. Instead of engaging in… Read Article →
I know that we’re about to begin the month of Tishrei, the opening of the Jewish year, with Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, but humor me for a bit while I write about Pesah. In the Talmud Yerushalmi, Rabbi Levi says that “anyone who eats matzah on the day before Pesah is like a man who has sex with his fiancée in his father-in-law’s house,” i.e., prior to the… Read Article →
There is a somewhat obscure debate regarding the lighting of Hanukkah candles that actually gets across a striking message about Hanukkah and the performance of religious acts in general. But in order to understand that dispute, we first have to review the original source for our practice of candle lighting. In “Massekhet Shabbat” 21b, we are told that the actual mitzvah of Hanukkah is to light one candle per household… Read Article →