Prayer, Good Deeds and Sacrifices? Explaining The Role of Sacrifices in Judaism


The most read book in human history, the Bible, spends much of its time concerned with the construction of a special sanctuary, a Tabernacle, in which animal (and grain) sacrifices were performed regularly. We may have grown up on the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah and the Great Deluge, the Twelve Tribes and the Exodus from Egypt but the majority of the text of the Five Books is dedicated to a set of rituals that have not been performed in the last two thousand years.How do we explain the … [Read more...]

Please God, Help Us Bring About Your Third Temple: A Response to Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz


My friend and colleague, Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, has written a provocative personal essay in the form of a prayer questioning the necessity for the restoration of the Beit HaMikdash, The Temple and its Divine service. I do not question the sincerity of his questioning or of his convictions. He is a man of integrity and is always one to express his genuine and heartfelt questions, challenges, declarations and points of dialogue. I feel compelled in this case to offer a response also in the form … [Read more...]

Don’t Pray, Communicate! A Book Review of Holistic Prayer


To understand the newest book by Rabbi Avi Weiss one needs to tell a story that appears in the book, Holistic Prayer: A rabbi was once informed that a crazed woman was in the beit midrash (the study hall, which is sometimes used as a small prayer room). "She is standing in front of the Ark, the Ark is open, and she is babbling and gesturing wildly," he was told. "She seems to be mentally imbalanced. Perhaps you can go in and help her. The rabbi went in. As he sat quietly in the back, he could … [Read more...]

A Prayer For Boston

The following is the message I sent out to our community after the bombings at the Boston Marathon. As the City of Boston lay in the grip of fear and lockdown during the manhunt for the suspected bomber, I believe these words hold as true now as they did on Monday:Our hearts are heavy and our eyes are red with tears as we read, watch and listen to the reports about the terrorist attack today in the great City of Boston during the Boston Marathon. Those who inflict these acts of barbarism and … [Read more...]