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!


On Leadership: Beginning the Journey

A while back, a British newspaper, The Times, interviewed a prominent member of the Jewish...

On Leadership: Answering the Call

Abraham stood for a faith that challenges the world instead of accepting it.

On Leadership: The Courage Not To Conform

To be a Jew is to be willing to challenge the prevailing consensus.

On Leadership: Righteousness Is Not Leadership

The praise that Noah is accorded is unparalleled anywhere in Tanakh. He was, says the Torah,...

On Leadership: Taking Responsibility

If leadership is the solution, what is the problem? On this, the Torah could not be more specific....

Let My Teaching Fall Like Rain

There is only one Torah, yet it has multiple effects.

The Torah as God's Song

At the end of his life, having given the Israelites at God's behest 612 commands, Moses is...

A Sense of History

Ki Tavo begins with the ceremony of bringing first fruits to the Temple. The Mishnah (Bikkurim 3)...

The Parameters of Justice

In Deuteronomy 24, we encounter for the first time the explicit statement of a law of far-reaching...

Testing Prophecy

In his enumeration of the various leadership roles within the nation that would take shape after...

Judaism's Social Vision

If you seek to understand Judaism's social vision, look at its anti-poverty...

Greatness and Humility

A sequence of verses in this week's sedra gave rise to a beautiful Talmudic passage - one that has...

Tzedek: Justice and Compassion

Shakespeare failed to realize that "justice" and "mercy" are indeed bonded together.

The Danger of Suspicion

It is a fascinating story and from it comes one of the great principles of Judaism. Two of the...

On Parents and Teachers

Just beneath the surface of today's this week's parshah is an exceptionally poignant story. It...

The Hardest Word to Hear

Man is led down the path he chooses to tread.

Why Was Moses Not Destined To Enter The Land?

Free people respond to persuasion, not power.

Power Versus Influence

The Korach rebellion was an unholy alliance of individuals and groups unhappy with Moses'...

Beyond the Fringe

Our Torah portion ends with one of the great commands of Judaism - tsitsit, the fringes we wear on...

Moses' Challenge

It was the worst crisis in Moses' life. Incited by the 'mixed multitude', the Israelites complain...

What Counts

Census as a form of endearment.

Love as Law, Law as Love

On the face of it the connections between the Torah portion and haftarah of Bamidbar are slender....

The Chronological Imagination

I want, in this study, to look at one of Judaism's most distinctive and least understood...

Faith As A Journey

In its account of the festivals of the Jewish year, this week's Torah portion contains the...

Of Love and Hate

The Torah’s practical ethic of love.

Fire - Holy and Unholy

The shock is immense. For several weeks and many chapters - the longest prelude in the Torah - we...

Violence and the Sacred

Judaism is less a philosophical system than a field of tensions - between universalism and...

Between Destiny and Chance

The third book of the Torah is known in English as "Leviticus", a word deriving from...

Three Types of Community

A long drama had taken place. Moses had led the people from slavery to the beginning of the road...

Two Types of Religious Encounter

Framing the epic events of this week's Torah portion are two objects - the two sets of tablets,...

Prophet and Priest

The portion of Tetsaveh, as commentators have noted, has one unusual feature: it is the only...

In the Details

God is in the details, and the details are everywhere.

Two Narratives of Creation

The Torah describes two acts of creation: God's creation of the universe, and the Israelites'...

The Politics of Revelation

At Sinai, the politics of freedom was born.

To Be a Leader of the Jewish People

That day, God saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians ... The Israelites saw the great power...

Freedom's Defence

And you shall explain to your child on that day, 'It is because of what the Lord did for me when I...

Of Lice and Men

Throughout all Egypt the dust turned into lice. But when the magicians tried to produce lice by...

Leadership and the People

The sedra of Shemot, in a series of finely etched vignettes, paints a portrait of the life of...

Altruism and Religion

Religion is the best antidote to the individualism of the consumer age.

Generations Forget and Remember

Lessons of assimilation, acculturation, and exile.

Choice and Change

The sequence from Bereishit 37 to 50 is the longest unbroken narrative in the Torah, and there can...

Disguise

Joseph is now the ruler of Egypt. The famine he predicted has come to pass. It extends beyond...

The Refusal to be Comforted

The deception has taken place. Joseph has been sold into slavery. His brothers have dipped his...

Fear or Distress?

Jacob and Esau are about to meet again after a separation of twenty two years. It is a fraught...

Encountering God

A unique approach to prayer by the biblical Jacob.

Between Prophecy and Oracle

Rebecca, hitherto infertile, became pregnant. Suffering acute pain, "she went to inquire of...

Hopes and Fears

The Torah portion of Chayei Sarah focuses on two episodes, both narrated at length and in...

Even Higher Than Angels

It is one of the most famous scenes in the Bible. Abraham is sitting at the entrance to his tent...

Making Space

The call to Abraham, with which Lech Lecha begins, seems to come from nowhere: "Leave your...

True Grit

The secret of success is how we view failure.

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