About the Author

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt”l was an international religious leader, philosopher, and respected moral voice. The author of over 35 books, he received multiple awards in recognition of his work including the 2016 Templeton Prize. He was the recipient of 18 honorary doctorates, and was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 2005 and made a Life Peer, taking his seat in the House of Lords in October 2009. Rabbi Sacks zt”l served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013. Rabbi Sacks zt”l was born on the 8th March 1948 and passed away on the 7th November 2020 (Shabbat Kodesh 20th MarCheshvan 5781).

These weekly teachings from Rabbi Sacks zt”l are part of the ‘Covenant & Conversation’ series on the weekly Torah reading. Read more essays from the series on www.rabbisacks.org.

Also available: The FAMILY EDITION of Covenant & Conversation, designed to enhance your parsha conversation with everyone from teenagers to great-great-grandparents. To read and print this family-friendly learning resource, for an inter-generational discussion around your Shabbat table on Rabbi Sacks’ ideas for the week, please click here.

Jews and Economics

Why there are so many Jewish lawyers fighting injustice, doctors fighting disease, teachers fighting ignorance, and economists fighting poverty.

Improbable Endings and the Defeat of Despair

We live life facing the future, but we understand life only when it has become our past.

The Struggle of Faith

Jacob was a Beethoven, not a Mozart.

Out of the Depths

Sometimes it is when we feel most alone that we discover we are not alone.

Why Isaac? Why Jacob?

Why Isaac, not Ishmael? Why Jacob, not Esau? These are among the most searing questions in the...

The World's Oldest Man

To survive tragedy and trauma, first build the future. Only then, remember the past.

The Space Between Us

The stories told in Bereishit chapters 21 and 22 - the sending away of Ishmael and the binding of...


Being a Jew requires the courage to be different.

The Trace of God

The importance of seeing the image of God in others.

Sukkot and Living in the Age of Insecurity

Throughout the ages Jews experienced risk and uncertainty, yet they still rejoiced while sitting under the shadow of faith.

Understanding Prayer: 10 Short Videos on How Prayer Can Change Your Life

Engaging heart, mind and soul in this central Jewish practice.

Two Types of Hate

Unconditional, irrational hatred cannot be reasoned with.

The Consent of the Governed

The contribution of Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, to political thought is fundamental, but not well...

The Limits of Grief

Judaism and striking the right balance of grief.

Why Civilisations Fail

The real challenge is not poverty but affluence, not insecurity but security, not slavery but freedom.

Philosophy or Prophecy?

What was the first commandment? On this there are two fascinating disagreements in Judaism. One...

Facing the Future without Fear, Together

Three ways we can move from the politics of "me" to the politics of "all of us, together."

The Book of the Covenant

As we begin reading the fifth and final book of the Torah, I would like to discuss three questions...

Influence and Power

Joshua’s two crucial roles and Judaism’s ambivalence about power.

The Mutation of Anti-Semitism

Why the rise of anti-Semitism across Europe and around the world presents a danger not just for Jews, but for all who care about our common humanity.

Descartes' Error

In his recent bestseller, The Social Animal, New York Times columnist David Brooks writes: We...

A Lesson in Conflict Resolution

Why didn’t the death of Korach and his followers end the conflict?

Freedom Needs Patience

God gives us the space to express our human freedom, choice and responsibility.

Leadership Beyond Despair

Great Jewish leaders feel they’re summoned to a task that must be done however inadequate they know themselves to be.

The Pursuit of Peace

Peace isn’t merely the absence of war or strife. It means completeness, perfection.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: What Jerusalem Means to Me

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of reunification.

Minority Rights

One of the most striking features of the Torah is its emphasis on love of, and vigilance toward,...

Judaism's Three Voices

The ethics of the king, the priest and the prophet.

Is There Such a Thing as Good Speech?

Evil speech puts people down, good speech lifts them up.

The Light of Holiness

Becoming partners with God in creation.

Why Civilisations Die

It was the foresight of people like Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai who created solutions today for the problems of tomorrow and quietly built the Jewish future.

Matzah: Symbol of Oppression or Liberty?

Primo Levi’s account of his experiences in Auschwitz gave me the answer.

The Sin Offering

Why should unintentional sins require atonement at all? What guilt is involved?

Encampments and Journeys

The depth of what it means to be a wandering Jew.

The Sabbath: First Day or Last?

In the immensely lengthy and detailed account of the making of the Tabernacle, the Torah tells the...

Who is Honored?

Tetzaveh is the only sedra from the beginning of Exodus to the end of Deuteronomy, that does not...

Why the BDS Campaign against Israel is Dangerously Wrong

Beneath the surface it's an attempt to delegtimize Israel as a prelude to its elimination.

God's Nudge

First in Yitro there were the aseret hadibrot, the "ten utterances" or general...

Justice or Peace?

Moses and the art of compromise.

The Power of Ruach

Exploring the nature of the miracle in splitting the sea.

Jewish Time

Judaism and the birth of hope.

The Jewish Journey

To be a Jew means to live within the tension between the world that is and the world we are called on to make.

The Birth of the World's Oldest Hatred

Understanding the roots of anti-Semitism.

Why Did Isaac Love Esau?

Sometimes love can do what rebuke cannot.

A Journey of a Thousand Miles

Why Abraham and Sarah died at peace despite their tumultuous lives.

The Miracle of a Child

Judaism is a sustained discipline in not taking life for granted.

On Being a Jewish Parent

Meet the most influential man who ever lived.

Individual and Collective Responsibility

The Flood tells us what happens to civilization when individuals rule. Babel tells us what happens when the collective rules and individuals are sacrificed to it.

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