Vayeitzei 2020 – Growing Through Conflict

This week’s midrash explores the possibility of conflict being essential to speiritual growth.

Toledot 2020 – The Corruption of Bribery

Not even the righteous are immune from the corrupting influence of bribery

Chayei Sarah 2020 – The Sun Also Rises + Bonus

This week’s midrash addresses the psychology of losing a leader with a theology of hope in continuity. Plus, a correction to last week and a bonus midrash.

Vayeira 2020 – Lying for the Sake of Peace

In this week’s Midrash on Parashat Vayeira, Rabbi Yuter turns to the Talmud for the perks and pitfalls of lying for the sake of peace

Evaluating Emergencies: Thoughts on Halakhic Decisions in Response to Corona

As the world copes with the coronavirus pandemic, soceities continue to grapple with the disruptions of social distancing in order to “flatten the curve” and curtail the spread of the fatal virus. Many feel the economic impact, either through loss of income or restrictions on what supplies we can provide for ourselves or families. Some even experience psychological and physical effects from being socially isolated.

Those who belong to social religions such as Judaism face additional pressures when their sacred rituals depend on (or are enhanced by) communal participation. Many if not most minyanim worldwide have been canceled, and others have gone to great lengths in order to say kaddish for a loved one.

These challenges may be reserved for a relatively small segment of the global poulation but they can also weigh more heavily on the members of religious communties due to their importance. And just as secular governments must wrestle with the appropriate amount of emergency encroachments on norms, religious communities are no less mindful of the long-term consequences of emergency decisions. 

Achievement Unlocked: Shas Completed

Reflections on finishing the study of the entire Talmud for the first time

This part January 4, 2020 marked the official completion of 13th cycle of daf yomi. Beginning on August 3, 2012,1 I, along with thousands of others worldwide, have studied one page of Talmud a day for 2,711 days.2 With this accomplishment, I can confidently assert the following without any hint of hubris or hyperbole:

I have forgotten more Talmud than most of you will ever know.