To be an arbiter of Jewish law is to be the conductor of an orchestra. It is not coercion but persuasion that makes it possible for the other to hear the beauty of the music and to accept a halachic decision, just as one would willingly listen to the interpretation of a conductor—because one is deeply inspired.
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
Music raises the spoken word to a level that touches on prophecy. It gives it a taste of that which is beyond, and transforms it into something untouchable. Just as there is no way to demonstrate the beauty of music to a person who is completely deaf, so is there no way to explain the difference between a spoken word and one which is sung, unless one sings. It lifts a person out of the mundane and gives him a feeling of the imponderable, which is the entrance to joy. It sets the soul in operation and brings us near to the Infinite.
It is clear a greater number of secular Israelis would like to become more observant. However, for various practical reasons, or due to social pressures, they are unable to make this switch. One of the great challenges, if not the greatest, is Shabbat, the only official day of rest in Israeli society, when people enjoy visiting people, or meeting friends at a restaurant. But none of this is possible without the use of cars or taxis and with no open restaurants. Here are some suggestions to overcome these obstacles
The people of Israel, according to Jewish tradition, are not the authors of the Torah. Rather, the Torah is the author of the people. As a covenant between God and humankind, the Torah is what brought the people into being. Moreover, despite the fact that the people have often violated the commanding voice of this text, it created the specific and unique identity of the Jewish nation.
A poem for Yom Yerushalayim.
The Coronavirus has once more confronted us with the absence of God in modern times. This absence is often seen as the cause for much secularism. No longer, it is argued, are there enough indications for God’s interference in the national and private affairs of mankind. Is there another way to look at this seeming absence? Might we find God in silence?
The new reality in the age of COVID-19 forces us to break with the monotony that most of us are used to. Almost all of us jump into routine every morning – whether it’s a job, or the need to sleep, eat, or entertain ourselves. And now, the corona virus suddenly forces us to rethink everything, making us wonder what this life of ours is really all about.
Announcing a new initiative by the Cardozo Academy Think Tank: a series of guest essays by Yehudah DovBer Zirkind, based on Rabbi Cardozo’s discussion of the Mei Hashiloah, Torah and Halacha.
By designating Yitro to be the father-in-law of the most holy Jew of all times, God made it clear that He would not tolerate racism and that a righteous gentile could climb up to the highest ranks of saintliness.
Podcasts on Prayer, finding One’s Soulmate, and Army service of the Ultra Orthodox, plus a previously published essay on the similarity between Halacha and a chess game.
The secret to Moshe Rabenu’s greatness is that he knew that his failures were in fact the building blocks for his future successes. While he may never have known what his accomplishments were, he continued to fight and ultimately prevailed.
Rembrandt reminds us that if we want to really live we must show flawless integrity and demonstrate great authenticity. It is all about making a genuine contribution to the world, with no regard for gain, and even being prepared to pay the price of one’s rank and position in the conventional community. A person must make sure that he can look himself in the mirror at the end of his life and say, I lived my life; it did not just pass me by.
Judaism was born out of opposition, rebellion and protest. It overthrew and outlived mighty empires and gave the world a radically new understanding of itself. Judaism has nothing to fear. It has prevailed over all those who criticized it but has also learned much about itself by listening to opposing voices. Through these voices, it has been able to sharpen its own claims and if necessary change its mind when the inadequacy of these claims has become clear. Only in this way will it continue to play a central role in the future of mankind.
Last week, something remarkable happened. Thousands of Jews from all over the world came together to study the last page of an old book with the ineffable anticipation of starting to study it all over again from page one and not to lose a minute.
It is extremely difficult to know whether the stories and observations about Jesus in the Talmud actually refer to the Jesus of the New Testament. Scholars have made the important observation that there is also a very great discrepancy between the picture which emerges from the actual text of the New Testament and the one developed by the church.
We should be careful in the way how we deal with people who are contemplating the possibility of leaving the fold. Much could be prevented, and too much is at stake.
God who is beyond time and space, is the source of all what happens and so uses false accusations, pretexts, and insidiousness against human beings while teaching them simultaneously that they are free to act and that they carry full responsibility for their deeds.
Faith means striving for faith. It is never an arrival. It can only burst forth at singular moments. It does not arise out of logical deduction, but out of uncertainty, which is its natural breeding ground. To have faith is to live with unresolved doubts, prepared to rise above ourselves and our wisdom. Looking into the Jewish tradition with its many debates, one clearly understands that those who deny themselves the comfort of certainty are much more authentic than those who are sure.
For the authentically religious personality, religion can be experienced and lived only in a state of originality. Any imitation of fellow worshipers is serving oneself and not God. In essence, religion is an attempt to search for God, the ultimate Original.
Avraham was an unparalleled leader and walked in front of everybody else. But he was also a captain who cared for the underdog and who pleaded with God not to leave the wicked people of Sedom and Amora behind.