Rabi Marc Angel – Happiness: Thoughts for Succoth Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

By: Rabbi Marc D. Angel
In: https://www.jewishideas.org/happiness-thoughts-succoth

The Torah informs us that the festival of Succoth commemorates God’s providence over the Israelites during their years of wandering in the wilderness. An old question is: why was this holiday scheduled to begin specifically on the 15th day of Tishri? The dates for Pessah (15 Nissan) and for Shavuoth (6 Sivan) are clearly linked to historical events—the day of the Exodus and the day of the Revelation at Mount Sinai. But the wandering in the wilderness was ongoing for 40 years, with no particular historic connection to Tishri 15?

Rabbi Haim David Halevy, in his Torat Hayyim al ha-Moadim, suggests that the Tishri 15 date was specified by the Almighty so as to be parallel to the Nissan 15 date of Pessah. Since the Exodus from Egypt is so central to Jewish thought and observance, Pessah and Succoth were set exactly six months apart, to the day, in order to ensure that we experience the power of the Exodus on a regular basis every six months.

The great 18th century sage, Rabbi Hayyim Yosef David Azulai (known popularly as the Hidah), offers a different explanation in his Midbar Kedeimot. He notes that the lives of our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob overlapped for fifteen years. When Abraham died, his grandson Jacob was 15 years old. In rabbinic tradition Abraham is identified with Pessah, Isaac with Shavuoth, and Jacob with Succoth. (See Tur O.H. 417). Because of the merit of these extraordinary 15 years, the holy days of Pessah and Succoth were both set for the 15th of the month.

The Hidah is alluding to something deeper than the clever confluence of numbers. He suggests that the 15 years of shared lifetime among Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were a period of extreme happiness for the world. These three luminaries literally changed the course of history and brought humanity to a better understanding of the One God. Succoth, which is known in our tradition as the season of our happiness (zeman simhateinu), commemorates the extraordinary happiness and enlightenment that emerged at the founding of our nation.

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Rabi Marc Angel – Religious Extremism is Ugly… and Dangerous – Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

In: https://www.jewishideas.org/article/religious-extremism-uglyand-dangerous

The Jerusalem Post, September 6, 2017, published the following: In an astonishingly vitriolic attack on progressive Jews, Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Shlomo Amar said that Reform Jews “deny more than Holocaust deniers….Today there was a hearing on the Kotel on the petition of the cursed evil people who do every iniquity in the world against the Torah – they even marry Jews and non-Jews,” said Amar…They don’t have Yom Kippur or Shabbat, but they want to pray [at the Western Wall]. But no one should think that they want to pray. They want to desecrate the holy. They are trying to deceive and say that extremist Haredim invented [prayer arrangements at the Western Wall]…It’s like Holocaust deniers, it’s the same thing. They shout, ‘Why are there Holocaust deniers in Iran?’ They deny more than Holocaust deniers.” Continue a ler (Continue reading)→

Rabino Marc D Angel – Qual direção?: Reflexões da Parashá Chukat 5777 – Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

Na Parasha desta semana lemos sobre a queixa dos israelitas da falta de água, sobre as instruções que D-s dá a Moshe para falar com a rocha, sobre Moshe golpeando a rocha para produzir água, de D-s informando a Moshe que ele não teria permissão para entrar na Terra Prometida. Moshe errou. Ele e Aarão foram instruidos por D-s: “Porquanto não crerem em Mim para me santificar aos olhos dos filhos de Israel, não trouxerás esta assembléia para a terra que eu lhes dei”. (Bemidbar 20:12).

Ao ouvir esta notícia, Moshe deve ter se sentido devastado. Depois de tantos anos de serviço dedicado, agora lhe foi dito que não teria permissão para terminar sua missão.

Como a Torá descreve a reação de Moshe ao decreto de D-s? Lemos algo sobre Moshe pedindo perdão? Ele cumprio pena pela sua transgressão? Vemos Moshe chorando, suplicando, rezando, pedindo outra chance?

Não, nenhum dos itens acima. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→

Rabbi Marc Angel – Which Direction? Thoughts for Parashat Hukkat – Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

In this week’s Parasha, we read of the Israelites’ complaint of lack of water; of God’s instruction to Moses to speak to the rock; of Moses striking the rock to bring forth water; of God informing Moses that he would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land.  Moses had erred; he and Aaron were told by God: “Because you did not believe in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them” (Bemidbar 20:12).

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Rabi Marc Angel – What Characterizes the Ideal Modern Orthodox Rabbi? – Institute for jewish Ideas and Ideals

Shalom uvrakha,

Rabbi Myron Rakowitz, a longtime colleague and friend has passed away after many years of distinguished service as rabbi, teacher and communal leader. He was a humble, loyal, and thoughtful rabbi who touched many lives. I am re-posting an article in Myron’s memory, on What Characterizes the Ideal Modern Orthodox Rabbi? Please read:  https://www.jewishideas.org/article/what-characterizes-ideal-modern-orthodox-rabbi

Rabbi Marc Angel – Thoughts for Pessah – Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

Shalom uvrakha,

I’ve just posted an article, offering an explanation of the enigmatic passage in the Haggada about the sages who gathered in B’nei B’rak and stayed up all night until their students interrupted them to recite the morning Shema. Please see  https://www.jewishideas.org/sharing-vision-thoughts-passover

Moadim leSimha.

Rabi Nathan Lopes Cardozo – Syria and the Scandal of our (Orthodox) Synagogues – Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

In: https://www.jewishideas.org/article/syria-and-scandal-our-orthodox-synagogues

Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo is Dean of the David Cardozo Academy in Jerusalem. An internationally respected author and lecturer, this article was published by his Institute as part of his “Thoughts to Ponder” series.

Thoughts to Ponder 524

Syria and the Scandal of our (Orthodox) Synagogues

Nathan Lopes Cardozo

“Lord of the Universe, I beg You to redeem Israel; but if You do not want to do that, then I beg You to redeem the gentiles.”

Rabbi Yisrael Hopstein, Maggid of Kozhnitz

 and legendary Chassidic leader in Poland (1733-1814)  (1) Continue a ler (Continue reading)→

Rabbi Marc D. Angel – Standing up for Israel – Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

Rabbi Marc D. Angel is founder and director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.

The Talmud posits an important principle: the Heavenly court deals with us by the exact same standards that we use to deal with others (Sotah 8b). If we are kind and compassionate, we can expect to be judged by God with kindness and compassion. If we are cruel and unfairly critical of others, we can expect the Heavenly court to deal with us with the same qualities we have shown to others.

“Midah keNeged Midah”–being judged measure for measure–can be applied to political leaders and nations who act and speak hypocritically and hatefully. They may appear to be powerful now, but they will one day stand before the Heavenly Court. The standards they use to judge others are the same standards that will be used by the Heavenly court to judge them. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→

Rabi Marc Angel – Light and Shadows: Thoughts for Hanukkah – Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

In: https://www.jewishideas.org/article/light-and-shadows-thoughts-hanukkah

Rabbi Marc D. Angel is Founder and Director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.

The Talmud (Shabbat 21b) records a famous debate between the Schools of Shammai and Hillel as to how to light the Hanukkah lights.  Bet Shammai rules that we should light 8 lights the first night, and then subtract one light each ensuing night. After all, the original miracle of the oil in the Temple would have entailed the oil diminishing a bit each day.

Bet Hillel rules that we should light one light the first night, and then increase the number of lights night after night. (This is the accepted practice.) A reason is suggested: in matters of holiness, we increase rather than decrease. The miracle of Hanukkah is more beautifully observed with the increasing of lights; it would be anti-climactic to diminish the lights with each passing night. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→

Rabi Marc Angel – Modern and Pre-Modern Orthodoxy – Institute of Jewish Ideas and Ideals

In: https://www.jewishideas.org/article/modern-and-pre-modern-orthodoxy-rabbi-marc-d-angel

In his book, The Perspective of Civilization, Fernand Braudel utilizes a concept that he calls “world-time.” Braudel notes that at any given point in history, all societies are not at the same level of advancement. The leading countries exist in world-time; that is, their level of advancement is correlated to the actual date in history. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→

Benjamin M. Friedman – Economic Growth and the Moral Society – Institute of Jewish Ideas and Ideals

Byline: Benjamin M. Friedman
Published on jewishideas.org (https://www.jewishideas.org)
In: https://www.jewishideas.org/article/economic-growth-and-moral-society

Benjamin M. Friedman is the William Joseph Maier Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University. The ideas expressed in this article draw in part on his book, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth (Vintage paperback, 2006). This article originally appeared in issue 8 of Conversations, the journal of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.


The premise of economic growth has come under question, in many parts of the world today, from a variety of directions. We are aware, of course, that moral thinking in practically every known culture enjoins us not to place undue emphasis on our material concerns. But today there is more to it than that. With heightened sensitivity to the strains that industrialization often brings, including the possibility of permanent climate change, many people in the higher-income countries now question whether further economic expansion is worth the costs. In the developing world, where the advantages of rising incomes are more evident, some people question whether economic growth, and the policies that promote it, are just vehicles for exploitation by foreigners. And now that the current financial crisis has sharply depressed production and incomes in many countries, both industrialized and not, an unusually large number of citizens sense that their economies aren’t growing anyway.

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Rabbi Marc Angel – Noah’s Advice: Thoughts on Parashat Noah – Intitute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

By: Rabbi Marc D. Angel
In: https://www.jewishideas.org/noahs-advice-thoughts-parashat-noah


Rabbi Marc Angel, Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Shearith Israel in New York

In sorting out the genealogical information in the early chapters of Genesis, it turns out that Noah and Abraham were alive at the same time. Abraham was 58 years old at the time of Noah’s death. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→

In Search of Torat Hessed: A Blog by Rabbi Marc D. Angel – Institute of Jewish Ideas and Ideals

Submitted by mdangel1 on Thu, 11/03/2016 – 00:00
In: https://www.jewishideas.org/blog/search-torat-hessed-blog-rabbi-marc-d-angel

maxresdefaultFrom time to time I receive comments from Institute members about new “humrot” (stringencies) which are being introduced at their synagogues. In one case, the congregation engaged a new rabbi who promptly raised the mehitza, forbade women’s hakafot on Simhat Torah, and took a “black hat” approach to other issues. A group of congregants became so fed up that they quit the shul and started their own modern Orthodox congregation. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→

Rabi Marc Angel – Torah and Evolution: Thoughts for Parashat Bereishith – [Angel for Shabbat] – The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals


I recently received an email communication from an Orthodox Jewish organization stating in unequivocal terms that “Orthodox Judaism rejects the theory of evolution.” In certain Orthodox circles, it is posited as a matter of faith that “true” Judaism does not and cannot accept evolution. God created the universe; God created Adam and Eve. This is clear from the first chapter of Bereishith, and there is nothing more to say on the subject. Any other position is heresy.

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Observations of an Observant Opthalmologist – Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

by Dr. Morris Shamah(*)
In: https://www.jewishideas.org/article/observations-observant-opthalmologist


In 1969, a very precise and intelligent law student approached me in a rather confused state. He had just learned the proofs for the existence of God as presented by Maimonides in the Guide to the Perplexed. These proofs were certainly disappointing to him as they said little to his practical twentieth century Western mind. Did I read them, he asked-yes, I answered, but they also said little that resonated with my way of thinking. At least all but one, the proof from design, lacked the punch that one expects from such “proofs” Continue a ler (Continue reading)→

Rabi Marc D. Angel – Thoughts for Shabbat Teshuvah and Yom Kippur – Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

by Rabbi Marc D. Angel
In: https://www.jewishideas.org/article/thoughts-shabbat-teshuvah-and-yom-kippur

maxresdefaultAlthough we popularly refer to the upcoming fast day as Yom Kippur, the Torah calls it Yom haKippurim—the day of atonements (in the plural). The plural form reminds us that there are many roads to atonement. Each person is different and is on a unique spiritual level; each comes with different insights, experiences, memories. The roads to atonement are plural, because no two of us have identical needs. Continue a ler (Continue reading)→

Peace, Religious Pluralism, and Tolerance: A View from Bahrain

By Nancy Khedouri *

In: https://www.jewishideas.org/article/peace-religious-pluralism-and-tolerance-view-bahrain

New York was covered in a blanket of snow the Friday morning of March 4, 2016, when I arrived at the United Nations to participate in a Conference about Religious Tolerance and Pluralism and to share important facts about my precious homeland, The Kingdom of Bahrain. It was delightful to have met with many leading religious figures and to be enlightened by what each of them had to share.
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