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Parashat Mishpatim (Judgements)

Commanded Holiness Last week Moshe stood on the mountain of the Lord receiving the Torah; the fire, the smoke, the physical manifestations of the Lord’s presence! This week we’ve moved from that awesome encounter with God where He gave us the first of His commandments, to the total apparent mundane instructions of how to live […]

Parashat Yitro

The Commanded Life We’re back to Yitro again; this is the portion I love each year, a chance to talk about Torah itself rather than the content. This is one of the most important if not the most important portions of the Torah. The impact of this portion in particular has gone far beyond the […]

Healing of the nations

Tu b’shevat, the 15th of Shevat, is a day designated as the New Year for trees. Our Land has always been a fruitful and blessed, fertile Land, while at the same time having the potential to be incredibly dry and arid, a living picture to the narrow balance we have in Israel between being blessed […]

Parashat Bo

We’re free! It is often said that the darkest hour of the night is the one before dawn. I’m not sure that’s true, but if it is then one of those lowest points and subsequent dawns took place some 2500 years ago as we returned from exile to Israel again and began to rebuild the […]

Parashat Va’era

Knowing when not to say no For 400 years our people toiled and worked in Egypt, just as G-d had promised they would, not a day longer or less, exactly what was promised and foreseen. When the time was up, G-d, who had been working behind the scenes for all this time, began to bring […]

Life and death in Egypt

‘And these are the names…’, thus begins this new book in the scroll, the same phrase used at the end of Bereshit to detail the people leaving their homeland to sojourn in Egypt. The parallels are meant to be stark, then we were small, now we are large in number, then we were free, now […]

Hineh ma tov umanaim, shevet achim gam yachad

The long term historical aim of British society has been to develop a multicultural model of existence where all value systems are equal and to be exalted as valid and worthy of contribution. Alongside this we have seen the concept of individualism as a high ideal and a cultural rebuttal of the age old dictum […]

Responding to God

The final and most crucial part of the Yosef story unfolds: the unveiling of his real identity. The Torah says that God meant his whole journey up to this point for GOOD! (Genesis 45:7-8). That one sentence shows utter conviction of faith and trust in God, not only in the good times but in ALL […]

God is in control

Chanukah – God is in control Two thousand years ago, one wintry day in Jerusalem, a solitary figure walked through the Temple precincts in Shlomo’s Porch. It was the ideal place to be during this time, the marking of Israel’s ‘Independence Day’ as it was then known: Chanukah, the time of the rededication of the […]

Are you part of the resistance movement?

The Lord was with Yosef; in everything he did God gave blessing and increase. Such wonderful success, able to carry responsibility – and on top of it all, he was handsome in form and appearance! But we know what he had to live through to bring him to that place. Yosef is in Egypt now, […]