Tag: Jewish people

The 10 Commandments today

Why we need them now more than ever. by Rabbi Benjamin Blech If God would have wanted to tweet the 10 Commandments on Twitter, He would’ve been restricted to 140 characters. As it is, He used 620 letters to write…

Jonah and the Whale

by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

Jonah is read on Yom Kippur, teaching us about our spiritual voyage.

Jonah was a prophet who lived in the first Temple period. His first mission was given to him by the most famous of first Temple prophets, Elijah — he was to anoint Jehu as king in the year 705 BCE. His were stormy times; the Jewish people were trapped in a pattern of spiritual decline that ended with first the conquest and expulsion of the Ten Tribes by the Assyrians in 607 BCE, and finally with the destruction of Jerusalem, which was followed by 70 years of exile.

As a prophet, Jonah knew far better than we can imagine what the inevitable end would be if no transformation would take place.

After the failure of his second mission, to rebuke Jehu’s successor, Jeroboam the second, he was given his final mission.

Shavuot a leap of faith

At Mount Sinai, the Jewish people accepted the Torah with the words, na’aseh v’nishma – we will do, then we will understand (Exodus 24:7). Their commitment to keeping God’s Torah was not in any way contingent upon their understanding why they should do so. They were ready to do whatever God would command, irrespective of whether or not it made sense to them.

At first glance, this seems to fly in the face of all we know about Judaism. It is not a religion of blind faith. We define reality by using our mind. Our heart might tell us what “feels good,” but it doesn’t tell us what is the truth. Our emotions often blind us from seeing reality. So how could the Jewish people, at this seminal moment of history, seemingly subjugate themselves to mindless faith? It goes against so much of what Judaism holds dear.

Most of us do not understand how a nuclear bomb works. It makes no sense. You take a tiny particle, invisible even to some of the most powerful microscopes, and you split it in half. And by doing so, you release enough energy to destroy a city.