At the beginning of Parashat Nitzavim, we hear the phrase, "Today you are all standing." This phrase isn't referring to people simply standing, it means that the Jewish people stood together and entered into a Covenant, affirming the things that matter most. But, what are the things that matter most today? Listen to Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, discuss Parashat Nitzavim, and what it means to continue the Covenant.
See also: The Reform Movement's call to action: Nitzavim: Standing Up for Voter Protection and Participation
Hasket, which translates to silence or stillness, is a word that appears in the Torah only once, during this week's Parasha, Ki Tavo. With the High Holidays coming up, setting aside time for silence or stillness can be difficult, but it can offer a unique form of spiritual centering. Still, while silence can be positively powerful this close to the High Holidays, silence can also be dangerous. Listen to Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, discuss the power of silence and stillness, and how we know when they are appropriate.
Ki Teitzei translates to “when you go out,” but it doesn’t mean going out to dinner or the movies. The full phrase, Ki teitzei l’milchamah, translates to “when you go out to war.” The Torah recognizes that there is an inevitability to war, and because of that, there must be certain moral boundaries and ethical requirements in the ways that we fight. This week, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, examines Parashat Ki Teitzei and what it means to fight a war with strength and humility.
At the core of being Jewish is a fundamental demand for justice. Demanding justice involves asking others to work toward a more just world, but it also involves asking ourselves to do that work. In Parashat Shof’tim, we are introduced to the three-word phrase that has inspired bookshelves of scholarship and controversy: “tzedek, tzedek, tirdof.” In English, the phrase translates to “justice, justice, you shall pursue.” Why would this simple, short phrase incite such controversy? Listen to Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, discuss the controversy, the significance of the repetition of the word tzedek, and more.