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Tag Archives: philosophy

Nitzavim / VaYelekh
Deuteronomy 29:9 – 31:30

American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once duly remarked: “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” Life is a series of choices. And sometimes having to make choices may not serve us well, even if it appears that […] http://bethsholomsf.org/nitzavim-vayelekh-deuteronomy-299-3130/ Continue Reading...

Va’et’hanan — Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11

How does empathy resonate with you? American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson once remarked that, “Humans aren’t as good as we should be in our capacity to empathize with feelings and thoughts of others, be they humans or other animals on Earth. So maybe part of our formal education should be training in empathy. Imagine how […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vaethanan-deuteronomy-323-711-2/ Continue Reading...

Report From Dublin

Rabbi Glazer recently participated in Philosophizing Monotheism, a conference at the National University of Ireland, Dublin. On his return to the States, he shared the inspiring report below. The wonderful conference was the culmination of an ongoing relationship I have been cultivating with a group of Israeli academics. I’ve done so with a few intentions […] http://bethsholomsf.org/report-from-dublin/ Continue Reading...

Pekudei – Exodus 38:21 – 40:38

As we close the Book of Exodus, let us return to the challenge posed to our assumptions about the myth of the return of religion by philosopher Peter Sloterdijk in You Must Change Your Life (2014). Recall that Sloterdijk argues that it is not religion that is returning, but a mode in which humans are […] http://bethsholomsf.org/pekudei-exodus-3821-4038-2/ Continue Reading...

Beshalach — Exodus 13:17–17:16

Are miracles possible? While the renowned medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides downplayed miracles as momentary exceptions when supernaturalism erupts into the dominant naturalism scripted by the Creator, one of our great modern thinkers, Abraham Joshua Heschel, sought to reclaim miracles as daily moments of radical amazement. However we define miracles, we must confront them this week […] http://bethsholomsf.org/beshalach-exodus-1317-1716-2/ Continue Reading...

Shemot — Exodus 1:1-6:1

As we open the Book of Exodus – which describes the founding of a nation and a collective religion we today call Judaism – let us consider the challenge that philosopher Peter Sloterdijk poses to our assumptions about the myth of religion’s return in recent decades. In You Must Change Your Life (2014), Sloterdijk argues […] http://bethsholomsf.org/shemot-exodus-11-61-2/ Continue Reading...

Ha’azinu — Deuteronomy 32:1 – 52

In spite of his death at 28, Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg (aka Novalis, 1772–1801) left us with a long lifetime’s worth of profound gems. Among these, “Whoever knows what philosophizing is, also knows what life is.“ Philosophy happens in the school of life. We encounter it through everyday provocations like irony, the joke, and […] http://bethsholomsf.org/haazinu-deuteronomy-321-52/ Continue Reading...

Nitzavim — Deuteronomy 29:9 – 30:20

Life is a series of choices. And sometimes having to make choices may not serve us well, even if it appears that each choice in the series seems perfectly well suited to serving our concerns. In such cases, philosophers will say we encounter a “dynamic choice” problem. When there are too many choices spread out […] http://bethsholomsf.org/nitzavim-deuteronomy-299-3020/ Continue Reading...

Va’et’hanan — Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11

What is empathy to you? German philosopher Theodor Lipps (1851–1914) often reflected on the quality of empathy, or Einfühlung, seeing it as a key to understanding our aesthetic experiences as well as the primary basis for recognizing each other as thinking, acting creatures. Lipps contends that empathy explains the felt immediacy of our aesthetic appreciation […] http://bethsholomsf.org/vaethanan-deuteronomy-323-711/ Continue Reading...

Devarim — Deuteronomy 1:1 – 3:22

The Hebrew name for the fifth book of the Torah is Devarim, meaning “spoken words.” The title is apt – Devarim consists of three speeches made by Moses to the assembled Israelites before they enter the Promised Land. The Greek name for the book, though, is apt in another way. Deuteronomy, from the roots deutero […] http://bethsholomsf.org/devarim-deuteronomy-11-322/ Continue Reading...