Why Be Jewish? [Part 2] The Forces Within and the Forces Without
Posted on 01/03/2019 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Beliefs and Practices
In our opening discussion on this topic (please see Why Be Jewish? - Defining the Question), we raised the issue that, while defining oneself as Jewish indicates that one is a member of a certain grouping,...
Why Be Jewish?
Posted on 11/29/2018 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Beliefs and Practices
Defining the Question Why be Jewish? It seems to be a simple, straightforward question, often employed to begin a presentation on the accolades and benefits in choosing to be a Jew. The problem is, in the vast...
Belief and Knowledge
Posted on 10/25/2018 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Beliefs and Practices
One of the difficulties in approaching the Biblical text is that it describes realities that are vastly different than our own. For example, when we speak of the truth of God’s Existence, we, generally,...
High Holy Days: On Communal Teshuva
Posted on 09/08/2018 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Holidays
Teshuva -- roughly translated into English as ‘repentance’ but actually involving much, much more -- is fundamental to Jewish thought and life. It is, actually, the very engine of all Jewish...
The Call of Introspection
Posted on 07/16/2018 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Holidays
As the Three Weeks began, I found myself thinking about the movie “The Gladiator” with Russel Crowe. It is, clearly, a film that presents a motif of good versus evil and we are to feel, in a...
#MeToo and the Pursuit of Modesty
Posted on 04/09/2018 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Beliefs and Practices
There can be no denying the significance of the #MeToo movement. It has confronted, and continues to confront, a major problem within our society and, for this, it deserves acknowledgment. What I find somewhat...
The Often Overlooked Message of Purim
Posted on 02/27/2018 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Holidays
In many ways, the story of Purim epitomizes the battle of good versus evil. The lines are clearly drawn and we know for whom we should cheer and for whom we should not. That is why its celebration is so...
The Uphill Battle of Teaching Orthodox Judaism
Posted on 01/30/2018 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Beliefs and Practices
I read with great interest the JVO blog posting from Moshe Daniel Levine entitled The Uphill Battle of Teaching Liberal Judaism and found myself agreeing with many of his points. In many ways, I found him...
Chanukah – The Holiday of Judaism's Oral Law
Posted on 12/19/2017 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Holidays
Of all the holidays celebrated by the Jewish People over the millennia, the only one that is not mentioned in the Tanach [the Jewish Bible] is the holiday of Chanukah. While there are different books entitled...
How Not To Do Teshuva
Posted on 09/24/2017 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Holidays
Maimonides, in his presentation of the Laws of Repentance (Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Teshuva 1:1) states that the actual mitzvah of teshuva, in requesting forgiveness from God, consists of four parts:1)...