About the Author


Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is an international religious leader, philosopher, and respected moral voice. The author of over 30 books, Rabbi Sacks has received multiple awards in recognition of his work including the 2016 Templeton Prize. He is the recipient of 17 honorary doctorates, 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. He served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013.

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

Now available for additional learning: 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 new learning resource, for an inter-generational discussion around your Shabbat table on Rabbi Sacks’ ideas for the week, click here!


The Jews, 50 Years from Now

What will be the condition of the Jewish community 50 years from now?

To Bless the Space Between Us

There is a mystery at the heart of the biblical story of Abraham, and it has immense implications...

Journey of the Generations

Mark Twain said it most pithily. “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could...

The Art of Listening

Exploring the sin of the first man.

Moses' Death, Moses' Life

And so Moses dies, alone on a mountain with God as he had been all those years ago when, as a...

The Arc of the Moral Universe

In majestic language, Moses breaks into song, investing his final testament to the Israelites with...

Torah as Song

Moses' long and tempestuous career is about to end. With words of blessing and encouragement he...

Why I Am a Jew

The most fateful moment in my life came when I asked myself, “Who am I?” This is my answer.

The Two Voices: A New Perspective on the Meaning of Teshuvah

An intellectual journey exploring the concept and deep meanings of Teshuvah. (1 hr class)

Why Judaism?

Because there is no more challenging way of choosing life.

The Pursuit of Joy

Happiness, said Aristotle, is the ultimate good at which all humans aim.[1] But in Judaism it is...

To the Third and Fourth Generations

There is, on the face of it, a fundamental contradiction in the Torah. On the one hand we hear, in...

Environmental Responsibility

Some commands in the Torah were understood so narrowly by the sages that they were rendered almost...

The Second Tithe and the Making of a Strong Society

Biblical Israel from the time of Joshua until the destruction of the Second Temple was a...

The Power of Gratitude

Gratitude is at the heart of what it means to be a Jew.

The Right and the Good

Heroes of the moral life go the extra mile and do more than they are commanded.

Why Are There So Many Jewish Lawyers?

Justice lies at the beating heart of Jewish faith.

Retribution and Revenge

Near the end of Bemidbar, we encounter the law of the cities of refuge: three cities to the east...

Elijah and the Still, Small Voice

Then the word of the Lord came to him: ‘Why are you here, Elijah?’ He replied, I am...

Fighting BDS in the Name of Human Rights

BDS is the latest incarnation of the denial to Jews as a distinctive faith and people the right to govern themselves in the land of their beginnings.

Assembling Reminders

You are driving ever so slightly above the speed limit. You see a police car in your rear view...

Inspiring Greatness in Others

David Brooks, in his new best seller, The Road to Character,[1] draws a sharp distinction between...

Two Versions of the Moral Life

The parsha of Naso contains the laws relating to the nazirite - an individual who undertook,...

The Politics of Responsibility

The 26th chapter of Vayikra sets out with stunning clarity the terms of Jewish life under the...

The Economics of Liberty

The most surprising best-selling book in 2014 was French economist Thomas Piketty's Capital in the...

The Circumcision of Desire

It is hard to trace with any precision the moment when a new idea makes its first appearance on...

Violence and the Sacred

Why sacrifices? To be sure, they have not been part of the life of Judaism since the destruction...

What do We Sacrifice?

A deeper look into the philosophy of animal sacrifices.

Integrity in Public Life

There is a verse so familiar that we don't often stop to reflect on what it means. It is the line...

The Spirit of Community

What do you do when your people has just made a golden calf, run riot and lost its sense of...

Can There be Compassion without Justice?

At the height of the drama of the Golden Calf a vivid and enigmatic scene takes place. Moses has...

The Ethic of Holiness

With Tetzaveh something new enters Judaism: Torat Cohanim, the world and mindset of the priest....

The Labour of Gratitude

There is an important principle in Judaism, a source of hope and also one of the structuring...

Healing the Heart of Darkness

What makes us moral? And what makes humanity capable of being so inhumane?

The Structure of Good Society

In the House of Lords there is a special chamber used, among other things, as the place where new...

The Face of Evil

After 9/11, when the horror and trauma had subsided, Americans found themselves asking what had...

Telling the Story

Identity is based on the narrative that links me to the past, guides me in the present, and places on me responsibility for the future

Freewill

Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart?

On Not Obeying Immoral Orders

The opening chapters of Exodus plunge us into the midst of epic events. Almost at a stroke the...

When Is It Permitted To Tell a Lie?

After the death of Jacob, Joseph's brothers were afraid. Years earlier, when he had revealed his...

The Birth of Forgiveness

There are moments that change world: 1439 when Johannes Gutenberg invented movable-type printing...

Appearance and Reality

Finally after 22 years and many twists and turns, Joseph and his brothers meet. We sense the drama...

The Parable of the Tribes

From beginning to end, Genesis 34 tells a terrifying story. Dina, Jacob's daughter - the only...

Love Is Not Enough

Judaism is supremely a religion of love: three loves. "You shall love the Lord your God with...

To Be Free, Let Go of Hate

Straight talk in Britain's House of Lords.

Was Jacob Right To Take the Blessings?

Was Jacob right to take Esau's blessing in disguise? Was he right to deceive his father and to...

The Kindness of Strangers

The pillar of Jewish life is kindness.

The Binding of Isaac

"Take your son, your only son, the one you love - Isaac - and go to the land of Moriah. Offer...

How Perfect Were the Patriarchs and Matriarchs?

In an extraordinary series of observations on this week's parsha, Nahmanides (Ramban, Rabbi Moses...

Beyond Nature

Are we naturally good or naturally bad? On this great minds have argued for centuries. Hobbes...

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