Sacks - Covenant Conversation - 1 - Genesis

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks - Covenant Conversation. A Weekly Reading the Jewish Bible. Genesis: The Book of Beginnings
"We must live with the times,” the Rebbe said.
The disciples, sitting around the table, eagerly awaiting the master’s words, were perplexed. “Live with the times? Isn’t that what the enemies of faith are always saying - The past is dead; long live the future? Surely we believe the opposite, that God’s word is eternal, that certain things do not change, that values and principles and laws are constant. To be a Jew is to be beyond time. What then does the Rebbe mean when he says, We must live with the times?”
“What I mean,” said the Rebbe, “is that we must live with the parashat hashavua, the weekly portion of the Torah.”
Like so many Jewish stories, ancient and modern, this one, told of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, contains hidden depths. Wherever they are throughout the world, Jews read a weekly portion of the Mosaic books - the parashat hashavua. It forms the music of the Jewish year. Autumn is Genesis (Bereshit) with its tales of beginnings, the birth of the world, of humanity and of the Jewish people. Winter is Exodus (Shemot), the story of exile and redemption, slavery and freedom and the beginning of the long journey through the wilderness in search of the Promised Land. Spring is Leviticus (Vayikra), with its laws of sacrifice, sometimes remote to the modern ear, yet shot through with ethical grandeur and at its fulcrum the two greatest moral imperatives of all - to love our neighbour as ourselves, and the far harder yet ultimately more important command to love the stranger, the other, the one not like ourselves. Numbers (Bemidbar) ushers in Shavuot, the festival of revelation, and does so with the story of the Israelites in the wilderness, a fraught tale of backslidings and rebellions, perhaps the most realistic narrative ever told of the birth of a nation. Summer is Deuteronomy (Devarim), that magnificent book of Moses’s addresses in the last month of his life, his vision - never surpassed - of Jewish history and destiny as the people of the covenant, charged with living in faithfulness to God.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks - Covenant Conversation. A Weekly Reading the Jewish Bible. Genesis: The Book of Beginnings

Maggid Books & The Orthodox Union,  Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd., Jerusalem, New Milford, London, 2009. - 260 pp.
ISBN 978-1-59264-020-1, hardcover

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks - Covenant Conversation. A Weekly Reading the Jewish Bible. Genesis: The Book of Beginnings - Contents

Living With the Times: The Parasha 
Genesis: An Introduction 
Bereshit ‏בראשית
The Book of Teaching 
The Essence of Man 
Three Stages of Creation 
Violence in the Name of God 
Garments of Light 
Noah נח
Beyond Obedience 
Babel: A Story of Heaven and Earth 
The Objectivity of Morality 
Drama in Four Acts 
Lekh Lekha לך-לך
The Long Walk to Freedom 
A New Kind of Hero 
Four Dimensions of the Journey 
Fathers and Sons 
Promise and Fulfillment 
Vavera וירא 
God and Strangers 
Challenging God 
The Ambivalent Jew 
The Miracle of a Child 
Hayei Sara חיי־שרה  
Land and Children 
Prayer and Conversation
Parental Authority and the Choice of a Marriage Partner
On Judaism and Islam 
Toledot תולדות 
On Clones and Identity 
The Future of the Past 
The Courage of Persistence
The Other Face of Esau 
Vayetzeh ויצא 
Encountering God 
The Ladder of Prayer 
When the “I” is Silent 
On Love and Justice 
Hearing the Torah 
Vayishlah וישלח 
Physical Fear, Moral Distress 
Wrestling Face to Face 
Surviving Crisis 
Jacob’s Destiny, Israel’s Name 
Vayeshev וישב 
The Tragedy of Reuben 
Refusing Comfort, Keeping Hope 
Flames and Words 
A Tale of Two Women 
Miketz מקץ
Man Proposes, God Disposes 
Between Freedom and Providence 
The Universal and the Particular 
Behind the Mask 
Vayigash ויגש 
In Search of Repentance 
Penitential Man 
Does My Father Love Me? 
Vayehi ויחי
The White Lie
Forgetfulness and Fruitfulness 
The Future of the Past 
Jewish Time 
About the Author


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