Torah Insights

Rabbi Adam Ruditsky: Let Freedom Sing

Rabbi Ruditsky compares ya’shir — they will sing — to ya’shar — they will go straight. From this, he derives the concept that the Israelites will look forward to tomorrow, seeing their freedom directly in front of them. The Song of the Sea is about tomorrow. The parashah doesn’t promise that there will never be another Pharaoh, nor that the world will be free from hatred, but it teaches that we should look forward, not backward.


Titan Cooper: Parashat Bo. Justice or Mercy?

An inherent tension exists between justice and good in the patriarchs. For instance, Abraham argued with God against the killing of everyone, both good and wicked, in Sodom and Gomorrah. Moses, in contrast, used both force and collective punishment to succeed in his mission of creating a holy nation. A similar ethical tension exists in modern Israel, in their relations with the Palestinians.


Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, z”l: The Necessity of Asking Questions

Rabbi Sacks, z”l, observes that while you need an army to defend a country, you need education to defend a civilization.  Furthermore, freedom is lost when it is taken for granted.  The Torah emphasizes that children must ask questions.  This is further incorporated into the Passover Hagaddah, which is tailored to not only answer questions from different mindsets, but also to education when the child does not know how to ask.  In Judaism, we do not believe in blind obedience, but rather in questioning.