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.

The Faith of God

When God gave humans the freedom to act well, he gave them the freedom to act badly.

Sukkot: The Dual Festival

An in-depth exploration of Sukkot and its focus on Jewish particularity and universality.

The Spirituality of Song

With Haazinu we climb to one of the peaks of Jewish spirituality. For a month Moses had taught the...

Understanding Anti-Semitism Today

In any given period of history, anti-Semitism is justified by culture’s highest source of authority. Today that is human rights.

To Renew Our Days

The moment had come. Moses was about to die. He had seen his sister Miriam and brother Aaron...

We Are What We Remember

Jews have told the story of who we are for longer and more devotedly than any other people on the face of the earth.

Love Is Not Enough

In a parsha laden with laws, one in particular is full of fascination. Here it is: If a man has...

The Greatness of Humility

Judaism’s spiritual revolution.

The Deep Power of Joy

Joy is something you share with others.

The Power of Why

Great leaders start with why.

The Complexity of Human Rights

We have rights as individuals but identities only as members of tribes.

Moses' Disappointment

Did Moses fail as a parent?

What Makes God Laugh

The folly of human delusions of grandeur.

Healing the Trauma of Loss

It took me two years to recover from the death of my father, of blessed memory. To this day,...

Hierarchy and Politics: The Never-Ending Story

It was a classic struggle for power. The only thing that made it different from the usual dramas...

Two Kinds of Fear

The spies were not afraid of failure. They were afraid of success.

The Blessing of Love

At 176 verses, Naso is the longest of the parshiyot. Yet one of its most moving passages, and the...

A Test of Character

Judaism is a faith for those who seek to change the world.

Healing an Ancient Wound

The meaning of tikkun and its connection to Shavuot.

The Sound of Silence

Bemidbar is usually read on the Shabbat before Shavuot. So the sages connected the two. Shavuot is...

A Sense of Direction

Smartphones can do amazing things – few more amazing than Waze, the Israeli-designed...

Family Feeling

Family is central to Judaism.

Holy Times

The parsha of Emor contains a chapter dedicated to the festivals of the Jewish year. There are...

In Search of Jewish Identity

The other day I was having a conversation with a Jewish intellectual and the question came up, as...

The Courage to Admit Mistakes

Judaism helps us admit our mistakes in three ways.

The Power of Shame

Internet and social media as instruments of public shaming illustrates the power and the danger of a culture of shame.

The Eighth Day

Our parsha begins with childbirth and, in the case of a male child, "On the eighth day the...

The Dangers of Enthusiasm

Understanding the death of Nadav and Avihu.

Understanding Sacrifice

One of the most difficult elements of the Torah and the way of life it prescribes is the...

The Pursuit of Meaning

Where what we want to do meets what needs to be done, that is where God wants us to be.

Don't Sit: Walk

Judaism is a journey, not a destination.

The Social Animal

At the beginning of Vayakhel Moses performs a tikkun, a mending of the past, namely the sin of the...

The Closeness of God

Many nations worship God, but Jews are the only people to count themselves His close relatives.

Inspiration and Perspiration

Achieving any form of spiritual growth requires sustained effort and daily rituals.

The Gift of Giving

It was the first Israelite house of worship, the first home Jews made for God. But the very idea...

Doing and Hearing

One of the most famous phrases in the Torah makes its appearance in this week's parsha. It has...

To Thank Before We Think

The Ten Commandments are the most famous religious-and-moral code in history. Until recently they...

Renewable Energy

The first translation of the Torah into another language - Greek - took place in around the second...

The Spiritual Child

Connecting children to something larger than themselves.

Spirits in a Material World

The Torah sometimes says something of fundamental importance in what seems like a minor and...

Turning Curses Into Blessings

Genesis ends on an almost serene note. Jacob has found his long lost son. The family has been...

On Not Predicting the Future

Jacob was on his death-bed. He summoned his children. He wanted to bless them before he died. But...


If we change the way we think, we will change the way we feel.

To Wait Without Despair

God answers our prayers, but often not when we thought or how we thought.

How to Change the World

Change a life, and you begin to change the universe.

Feeling the Fear

Courage does not mean having no fear. It means having fear but overcoming it.

How the Light Gets In

Why Jacob? That is the question we find ourselves asking repeatedly as we read the narratives of...

Receive the Aish.com Weekly Email

Sign up to our Aish Weekly Update Newsletter.

Our privacy policy