Among our most sacred values is shalom, the Hebrew word for peace. But what does peace mean? Does it demand pacifism? Is it opposition to war at all costs? This issue arose in the 1930s in a dialogue between Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Buber. In an exchange of letters, Gandhi urged Jews in Germany to…

In Judaism we have a ceremony called a Bar Mitzvah. For girls it is called Bat Mitzah. It takes place around the time the child turns 13 years old. Their responsibility is to read a section from the Torah scroll. The particular section they read depends on the time of year. The most difficult sections…

If you ask a parent what they want for their children, they often say “to be happy.” I can’t argue with that. But we also want more. We want them to be faithful, loving, charitable, honorable and fulfilled. I know I do. That quest as a parent and as a rabbi guiding parents forms the…

Israel doesn’t have a Valentine’s day. Turns out St. Valentine was not a big fan of Jews. But we do have a holiday called Tu B’Av—it means the 15th day of Hebrew month of Av. On Tu B’Av couples traditionally take a stroll and enjoy the full moon. Women tend to dress in white. Tu…

Do you know how to handle stress? We all face it. And we know it can hurt us. Yet, we struggle with how to handle it. A recent study found only 23 percent of people feel they are doing “an excellent or very good job at managing or reducing stress.” Now picture some relaxed people…

In the Hebrew Bible, Moses is not the strongest of men. He is the not the wisest of men. He is not even very eloquent or charismatic. He has a speech impediment that requires his brother Aaron to step in and speak on his behalf. But Moses does have one quality in greater abundance than…

1. Hanukkah is not the Jewish Christmas. The parallels are striking. Both happen near the end of the secular year. Both center around lights. And both involve gift giving. But, despite their outward similarities, the two are vastly different in religious meaning. Christmas is a central Christian holiday, marking the birth of Jesus. Hanukkah, which is not…

December means family time. We celebrate holidays. We take a little time off. But many of us greet this with a feeling of worry. Our country feels more divided. The ties that bind us feel more frayed. I’ve read some accounts of siblings cutting themselves off from one another because of the way they voted in…

The newspaper is rarely is a good source to find wisdom. We find opinions. We find facts. But real insight on how to live well is are. So we turn to other sources like books and essays and blogs. But what if I told you one section of the newspaper does contain wisdom? And that…

Jewish tradition often leaves me perplexed. A few years ago, the first night of Chanukah coincided with Thanksgiving. This year Chanukah begins on Christmas Eve. How is that possible? The Jewish calendar revolves around the lunar cycle. The lunar cycle lasts about 28 days. That is a month in the Jewish calendar. The typical lunar year is 355…

Evan Moffic
about

Evan Moffic

Rabbi Evan Moffic writes for people of all faiths. His book, What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Jewishness of Jesus was a 2015 best-seller. His upcoming book of devotions—Shalom for the Heart—takes short biblical passages and show they way they can help us make better choices and live with fewer regrets. With Rabbi Moffic, you will find an open, accessible guide to life’s deepest truths. A husband and father, he graduated from Stanford University in 2000, and was ordained a rabbi in 2006. He leads a congregation in suburban Chicago. You can connect with him directly at emoffic@gmail.com.

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