The call of the hour on Yom Kippur is this: a full day is given to us to realize that our lives are undeserved. Life is only great when it is earned through a dignified response.
Nathan Lopes Cardozo
Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo is the Founder and Dean of the David Cardozo Academy and the Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu in Jerusalem. A sought-after lecturer on the international stage for both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences, Rabbi Cardozo is the author of 13 books and numerous articles in both English and Hebrew. He heads a Think Tank focused on finding new Halachic and philosophical approaches to dealing with the crisis of religion and identity amongst Jews and the Jewish State of Israel. Hailing from the Netherlands, Rabbi Cardozo is known for his original and often fearlessly controversial insights into Judaism. His ideas are widely debated on an international level on social media, blogs, books and other forums.
Recent articles by Nathan Lopes Cardozo
It is Divine humor that tells us to live with absurdity, and supreme holy witticism that asks us to live with laughter. We are asked to enjoy the journey and realize that there is no arrival.
Every ordinary act should be turned into a kind of mitzvah, a spiritual challenge, making it a dignified encounter with God. On Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur we are reminded that our deeds must redeem God’s presence and rescue Him from oblivion. In doing the finite we must be able to perceive the infinite.
To be given the opportunity to do teshuvah is an enormous privilege. It is a joy to be able to say I am sorry. This is the ultimate expression of religious optimism. Judaism teaches man that there is no karma that traps him, and no original sin that stands in his way. Man is free to re-engage with God and his fellow man. Whatever obstacles there may be, all that is required is the will to change his ways and the effort to work hard at it.
Jewish law contains a far-reaching codex for personal and environmental cleanliness that would seem novel and forward-thinking to many twenty-first century environmentalists. Unfortunately, these laws do not seem to be of great concern within many orthodox communities today. By implementing the Torah’s laws in this realm, orthodox communities will make a tremendous kiddush Hashem, which is in fact the purpose of being a Jew.
Paradoxically, the only way to create unity among different denominations is for all to recognize that they are fundamentally divided. We need to stop asking for compromise on the very beliefs that are matters of personal conscience and therefore categorical.
All discussions of why certain marriages or sexual relationships are forbidden are doomed to fail! No human reasoning is able to explain them in any consistent way. It is for this reason that religious thinkers should distance themselves from giving primary reasons for these prohibitions.
When a person learns Torah as a religious experience and hears its revelation, the gap of several thousand years—from the Revelation until now—no longer exists. Accordingly, Torah is given today
The Temple whose destruction we mourn on the 9th of Av has no inherent value. It is only a means to something that no physical object can contain. On Tish’a B’Av, we do not mourn the loss of the Temple but rather the loss of its message, which we no longer seem to grasp.
Louis Jacobs is not at all as radical as some would like to believe. In fact, some ultra-Orthodox thinkers were even more radical than Rabbi Jacobs but remained completely committed to Orthodox Halacha and the belief in Torah from Heaven.
We must teach Halacha as a musical symphony, in which all students see opportunities to discover their inner selves. Teachers must stand in front of their classes as a conductor stands before his orchestra and draws it out of its confinement, moving it beyond itself. They must show their students how to pull the ineffable out of the dry halacha and turn it into an encounter with God.
The ruling by the Eida HaHareidit that Ethiopian Jews are not fully Jewish is scandalous and deeply embarrassing. It disgraces Judaism and is as anti-Jewish as can be. This and many other rabbinical decisions are not part of the Judaism I converted to. I abhor them and want no part of them.
For the sake of later generations—who would need to know that the ways of the Torah are ways of pleasantness, of the gentle word and not the hard strike—God denied Moshe the merit of living in the land. He made it clear to all that leaders who seek to turn Israel into a holy nation by way of threat or by force may very well bring disaster to themselves and their people.
Among world leaders, governments, the academic world, and even the Jewish world, we see symptoms of Korach’s conduct. And while it also happens among the average population, it is with the “mighty ones” that the consequences are much more serious.”
The first convert and Jew, Avraham, was only asked to observe a few of the commandments, such as circumcision. An incubation period was required to allow for Judaism to develop slowly and be solidified at Sinai with the giving of the Torah. In this time frame, the great moral-religious foundations of Judaism and the conditions for creating the Jewish nation were shaped. We should allow potential converts this option to slowly work their way up to Sinai.
Halacha seeks to create a certain duality within the Jewish polity and allows space for a democratic model in which human beings decide the law, not only God. This is with the full permission, nay, on the initiative of God Himself as reflected in the Torah. In other words, the Torah itself gives its imprimatur to state law: “Appoint yourselves shoftim [judges sitting in the Sanhedrin] and shotrim [magistrates who judge according to ‘the law of the king,’ civil law].
Since the days of Hillel HaNasi, an official and fixed Jewish calendar (independent of eye witnesses) is in operation and, consequently, there is no longer any doubt about which day is the correct day of Yom Tov. Why then, did the Sages did not annul the second day Yom Tov?
I am jealous of atheists because they are able to believe the unbelievable. And I, in my simplicity, cannot reach that state of belief.
To be satisfied is one of the greatest blessings that can ever be bestowed upon human beings. The Torah teaches us that when the People of Israel live in accordance with the requirements of the Torah, what will matter is not what a person “has” but what a person “is.”
The real struggle for moral liberty started the day after the exodus from Egypt. The first day was a given; it was the day of God, not of the people. It was the day of passivity and complete surrender. Only the next day did the spiritual labor of the human being begin, and that is therefore the first day of our spiritual elevation.