Parashat Ki Tisa features what is arguably one of Judaism’s most powerful teachings: no matter how busy you are, and no matter how important the task at hand is, you must rest. In this episode, Rabbi Rick Jacobs discusses the power and importance of Shabbat, and what Shabbat looks like for Reform Jews today.
Parashat T’tzaveh goes into detail about the ritual garments and dress of the ancient high priests. In almost every religious community, the leaders wear distinctive garments that make their roles clear in their respective communities. In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Jacobs wonders whether those who wear these garments are the only spiritual leaders in their communities, and shares a touching story about one of his own unexpected spiritual leaders.
In Parashat T'rumah, God asks the Israelites for gifts and there are so many different ways and reasons that people give - but is there a best way? Rabbi Rick Jacobs discusses different perspectives on giving in this episode of On the Other Hand.
Near the end of Parashat Mishpatim, God tells Moses to go to the mountain, and to “be there.” Why would God tell Moses to “be there” after already telling him exactly where to be? In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Rick Jacobs poses the idea that God wants to make sure Moses is spiritually, emotionally, and mentally present—and that being present in that way is just as important for all of us today as it was for Moses.
In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Jacobs talks with Rabbi Judy Schindler. They discuss Parashat Yitro, expanding the tent of Jewish life, the legacy passed down by her father, social justice activism, and Rabbi Schindler's book Recharging Judaism. Rabbi Schindler is the Sklut Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University of Charlotte and Rabbi Emerita at Temple Beth El in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In Parashat B'shalach, the Israelites arrive at the Sea of Reeds, the sea parts, and they walk across dry land toward freedom. Before they cross, though, there's a moment where Moses stands in front of the sea, and he has no idea what to do. He obviously figures it out... but how? Rabbi Jacobs discusses Parashat B'shalach, and the difference between action and prayer, in this episode of On the Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah.
Parashat Bo features the four famous words, "let my people go,” a refrain for countless communities seeking freedom. In this episode of On the Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah, Rabbi Jacobs discusses some of those communities, and how the Israelites' fight for liberation inspired and fueled their movements.
This week, Rabbi Jacobs discusses Parashat Va-eira. Parashat Va-eira is read during Shabbat Tzedek, right before we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, and it's fitting that this parashah tells the story of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt. What can we learn about social justice from this story? Listen to this episode of On the Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah to find out.
Happy 2018! In our first episode of the secular new year, Rabbi Rick Jacobs welcomes guest host and friend Reverend Frederick A. Davie, Executive Vice President of Union Theological Seminary. Together, they discuss parashat Sh’mot and our individual capacity to drive change in the world. They wonder: What motivates us to take action – and what are the parameters for change?
Jacob’s death, which takes place in parashat Va-y’chi, marks the end of an epoch in the life of the Jewish people. Discussing the final Torah portion in the book of Genesis – and the last we’ll read in 2017 – Rabbi Rick Jacobs explores: What does it mean to live on after our time on earth has ended? What kind of legacy do we leave behind?
In the 100th episode of “On the Other Hand,” Rabbi Jacobs discusses Joseph. Where would he be if he were alive today? And, was Joseph a good guy?
In this special Hanukkah episode of “On the Other Hand,” Rabbi Jacobs discusses a passage in the Talmud that instructs Jews to place their hanukkiyot (Hanukkah menorahs) in their windows. What might this mean today, in a world where hate crimes are on the rise?
Joseph is young, brash, and full of dreams—and then he’s sold into slavery. What’s Joseph’s legacy, and what can we learn from Joseph about growing up and becoming our best selves? In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Jacobs talks Parashat Vayeishev.
Sexual harassment and assault is an issue that dates all the way back to biblical times. For example, in Parashat Vayishlach, Dinah is assaulted by Shechem. In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Jacobs discusses the question: How can we use these texts to guide us toward healing, and a promise to do better?
Parashat Vayeitzei tells the story of Jacob’s journey. But it’s more than just the story of a journey: it’s the story of a refugee and in a world with more than 60 million refugees, this story is as important as ever. In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Jacobs talks of our responsibility as Jews to welcome refugees.
In Parshat Tol’dot, we read about the birth of twins Jacob and Esau. It’s one of the Torah’s more famous stories, and it has an important message about choosing one’s path in life. Listen to this week’s episode of On the Other Hand to hear what Rabbi Jacobs thinks Jacob and Esau can teach us today, and what they have in common with Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In Parashat Chayei Sarah, which discusses the death of Sarah, one of the first things we learn is where and when she dies. This piece of information may seem small, but it actually tells us quite a bit about Sarah. Rabbi Rick Jacobs explains why, in this episode of On the Other Hand.
In Parashat Vayeira, Sarah pretends for the second time that she’s Abraham’s sister instead of his wife. Even though it may seem like an odd trend, there is, of course, something to learn from it. Listen to Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, give his take, in this episode of On the Other Hand.
Many people consider Parashat Lech L’cha to be the story of Avram, or Abraham, leaving his father to begin his life as a Jew. In this episode of On the Other Hand, Rabbi Jacobs makes the case that Avram didn’t actually leave anyone behind, but instead, he went with.
In Parashat Noach, God sends a flood to Earth as punishment for corruption and lawlessness. As we’re living in the aftermath of several natural disasters today, some may wonder what “acts of God” really are. Rabbi Jacobs gives his take in this episode of On the Other Hand
As we begin a new cycle of study and learning with Parashat B’reishit, Rabbi Jacobs makes a case for the number seven. Why is the number seven so significant, and what does this significance mean in Judaism? Rabbi Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, explains, in this episode of On the Other Hand.
Sukkot, the holiday that celebrates the harvest and the beauty of the natural world, is this week. On Sukkot, we read Kohelet (Book of Ecclesiastes). Kohelet doesn’t have the theology of typical Jewish textual teachings, but it does have an important message about reaping what you sow. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, gives his thoughts on Sukkot and Kohelet in this episode of On the Other Hand.
During the ten days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, we’re tasked with the difficult job of repentance. It can be the hardest work of our lives to find forgiveness for those who have hurt us and to ask for forgiveness from those we have hurt, but it can also be the most important.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, shares his thoughts on repentance, forgiveness, and letting things go, in this episode of On the Other Hand.
We read the Akeidah, or the Binding of Isaac, on Rosh Hashanah, where God commands Abraham to take his son, Isaac, up to Mount Morriah and sacrifice him. Thankfully God doesn’t actually require Abraham to follow through, but still, it’s a difficult request. Are we, like Abraham, obligated to always be obedient, or should we question authority? Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, shares his thoughts in this episode of On the Other Hand.
For many, the double portion Nitzavim-Vayeilech is comforting. Judaism is a religion full of commandments, but Nitzavim-Vayeilech assures us that everything we need to be Jewish is in our very hearts. Listen to Rabbi Rick Jacobs describe where spirituality lies, and how we can collectively uncover more holiness.