Speaking about the recent college admissions, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch says: "The impulse to cheat is always present in our lives – especially in a society like ours that so rewards accomplishment. Jewish tradition teaches that we need to avoid even the first step on the wrong path, and remember that God created human beings imperfect and placed us in an imperfect world – and our task is to improve ourselves."
"Right-wing anti-Semitism inclines towards violence. The anti-Semitism of the left is camouflaged by the rhetoric of human rights, anti-colonialism, liberalism, and white privilege. It tends to be expressed nowadays through hatred of Israel. And starting there – it often stumbles into anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions."
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch responds to the use of anti-Semitic tropes in recent political discourse, warning us to be wary of efforts to inoculate people from criticism on the basis of race, gender or religion.
In this week’s parasha, God singles out Bezalel by name – and a good name is among our most precious possessions. “Anticipating modern times when, Jewish sages warned against the human propensity to damage a person’s reputation,” said Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “It is good for all of us to remember this when we speak about others.”
In this week’s parasha, Moses became so enraged that he took the tablets – described by the Torah as being carved by the very finger of God – and shattered them into pieces. In this era of anger, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch cautions, the enraged are often impervious to reason – but anger can also be a force for good.
Despite the characteristic rapid social changes of our times, we know what kind of behavior is right and what's wrong, says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, who discusses the ongoing controversy in Virginia's state government and the great sage, Elazar, who sinned but repented and vowed to change his ways.