Frogs Here, Frogs There…

In this week’s parasha, the Torah says that a frog — written in the singular — started the surge that covered Egypt. Rabbis Elazar and Akiva argue: were the other frogs already there, waiting to be called, or did one create the rest? “Either way, millions of frogs came,” says Rabi Ammiel Hirsch. And the rabbis agree that, for better or worse, “one person has the power to motivate millions.”


For a Mess of Pottage

“Democracy is hard. It requires constant and loving cultivation,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “May it be that one day we will look back upon these days and conclude that the last four years were an aberration: that this is not who we are or want to be — that we are better than this.”


Predictions For 2021

“It is not for human beings to predict the future. Only God knows what will happen tomorrow,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch on New Year’s Day. “Jewish tradition is emphatic: the future is not some static immovable state of affairs. So act as if you can make a difference — and never lose hope.”


A Holy Day

“I love when Christmas falls on Shabbat,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “It gives me an opportunity to remind myself that Judaism is both universal and particular: that we unite with the world in fellowship — one human family. And still, we are a distinctive family.”


Dream On

In this week’s parasha, we learn that “not only does Joseph constantly dream big dreams, he also has a unique capacity to interpret dreams,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “The Talmud contains this amazing thought: ‘Dreams are fulfilled according to their interpretation.’ The best dreams of all are those we interpret not only for our own benefit, but for the benefit of others.”