Picture of Rabbi Ed Feinstein

Rabbi Ed Feinstein

An inconvenient voice

It is too easy to label Korah evil and dismiss his claims. There is nothing in the pshat, the simple reading of the biblical text, to castigate Korah as the embodiment of evil. In fact, it is suspicious how ready everyone is to get rid of him. What are we covering up? What truth does Korah know?

The Heart of Jewish Joy

We\’ve come to expect that anything authentically Jewish must be hard, painful, difficult. No chrain, no gain.

Are You Listening?

\”Therefore\” connects all our fine sentiments and deep wisdom with the reality of the world. \”Therefore\” binds us to bring our values out of the vague realm of our subjectivity and into the hard objective world of work, family, politics and power. \”Therefore\” tests all our spiritual aspirations and visions against the limits of our courage, imagination and resolve. \”Therefore\” makes religion real. Every day, someone confesses, \”Rabbi, I\’m a deeply spiritual person.\”

Perfectly Imperfect

I worry about children who are told they must get every answer correct. I worry about kids told there\’s no room for second best. I worry about the child who must always be the star. If we demand success each time, and leave no room for failure, our children\’s dreams will shrink to fit their certainties. They will play it safe and never try too hard, never reach too far, never put too much of themselves into any pursuit. It is entirely possible to exalt the mind while crushing the soul.

A Good Place to Start

The Torah has no title page. It has neither an author\’s introduction nor a preface — nothing to tell us why the book was written or how it is to be read. The very first line begins with a complete lack of self-consciousness: \”In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth\” (Genesis 1:1).

On this line we find a remarkable comment by the most famous of Jewish Bible commentators, Rashi, Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac of 11th century France. Rashi cites a classical midrash: \”Rabbi Isaac asked: Why does the Torah begin with Genesis? The Torah should have begun with the verse (Exodus 12:2): \’This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months,\’ which is the first commandment given to Israel. For what reason does the Torah begin with Genesis?\”

Rashi\’s commentary on the Torah provides the Jew with a broad survey of law, theology and wisdom — a basic curriculum of Jewish learning. Rashi\’s genius is to state the most penetrating questions in the most concise idiom. This one is a gem. Within this innocuous question is a world of debate on the nature of Judaism and purpose of the Torah.

Who Loves You?

A bright and otherwise articulate second-grader was having night terrors.

God’s Questions

When we arrive in heaven, the talmudic sages wondered, what will God ask of us?

Age of Amusement

A gentleman died and his family asked me to officiate his funeral.


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