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Home Authors Articles by Chaim Steinmetz

Chaim Steinmetz

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Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz is the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New York.

Constructive Ambivalence

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Without ambivalence, change is often impossible. 

Overcoming Sibling Rivalry

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Peter Stearns of Carnegie Mellon University sees several factors behind the explosion of concern about sibling rivalry in the mid-20th century.

Will Esav Ever Love Us?

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Throughout Jewish history, pessimism has had a profound impact on the Jewish psyche.

Who We Are, and Who We Aren’t: Vayeitzei 2021

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Chukat Akum insists a Jew must make a point of being different than others.

What to Do With a Child Like Esav

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It is clear that Esav was fated to be a failure.

How to Choose a Spouse

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The method by which one chooses a spouse is less significant than we might imagine; there are models of both romantic and arranged marriages in the Torah.

The Greatest Jewish Joke Ever

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Jews certainly know how to laugh at themselves, and to make fun of their failings.

Sarah, the Invisible Hero

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Because the narrative in the Torah focuses mostly on Avraham, it is easy to overlook that the sacrifices Sarah makes are more exceptional.

Ordinary Greatness

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The focus on greatness has had a profound impact on Jewish culture, and has made greatness a life goal to be embraced.

The Cult of Overwork and the Sabbath

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An article in The New Yorker described it best: the cult of overwork. White collar professionals in the United States are far more likely to work longer hours than lower paid workers.

Coronavirus Grumbling, the Sukkah, and the Wisdom of Hindsight

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It has been a year and a half of discontent.

In Search of Heroes: The 20th Anniversary of 9/11

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Heroism does not grow in a vacuum; heroes are shaped by their upbringing and education.

How Do I Convince My Child to be a Jew?

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Although I didn’t know Sarah, she had asked for an appointment to see me. The issue was her son.

When History Touches You

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The casual reader is immediately struck by the pageantry of the offering of first fruits, bikkurim, in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Oh, Brother

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In the ancient world, yibum is a powerful act of solidarity, where one brother sets aside his own interests to stand in for the other.

The Revolutionary Idea of Humility

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This is the ideology of humility; it matters not what humans think of you, only what God expects of you.

Why Are Jews So Charitable?

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Charity for Jews is about more than caring for the poor; it is about transforming the world.

What Happens When We Are No Longer Hated?

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Throughout history, Jews have been able to handle adversity; but as of yet, we haven’t figured out how to handle success.

“The Fewest of All Peoples”: The Improbable History of the Jews

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Being the “fewest” has forged the culture and character of the Jewish people.

What You Need to Say Before You Die

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The Jewish ethical will is a forgotten genre of literature.

Death, Guilt and Innocence: An Ancient Lesson for Contemporary Times

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This week's Torah reading includes an important lesson about the gray area between absolute guilt and true innocence.

The Secret to Jewish Leadership: Acharai

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"Acharai! After me!" This slogan, which epitomizes the culture of the Israeli army, is attributed to Nahum Arieli, a soldier in the Palmach.

Bilaam and the Boy with the Flute

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Where did Bilaam go wrong?

Moshe’s Leadership, the Rebbe, and the Dilemma of the Modern Jew

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Remarkably, a new generation in the new world could still follow a Rebbe, because they were ready for a different kind of leadership.

Korach: Hatred or Unity

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It is painful to read the Parsha of Korach on a week when the dark clouds of violence are on the horizon once again.

What Roots Can Do

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Herzl desperately wanted a return to Israel and Israel only. What motivated Herzl to adjust his plans was a shocking spike in European antisemitism.

What if the Messiah Doesn’t Arrive?

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Optimism should never undermine realism, but realism should never undermine optimism either.

It’s Time for the Anti-Selfie

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An image isn’t reality, and when we take the ideal image too seriously, it can destroy us.

Listening for a Divine Echo

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Even rationalists can sometimes experience a coincidence that makes them pause.

For God’s Sake, Get Vaccinated

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Even if our souls can soar, our bodies can’t fly.
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