A Shavuot Message from Rabbi Stone: Na-ase V’nishma

There are some Torah stories that we don’t realize are Rabbinic in origin. When we discover they are not actually in the Torah, we can hardly believe it. For example, many people are convinced that the Torah includes the story of Abraham smashing the idols in his...

The Voice of the Other: From Mount Sinai and Today

In a few short weeks we will complete our metaphoric journey from Egypt on Pesach to Sinai on Shavuot. Just as we learned that the heart of the Haggadah is located in the injunction to actually experience the Exodus for ourselves through the ritual, so also the...

Pesach: Where Tragedy Turns Toward the Joy of Responsibility

As Pesach draws close, I reflect on the many different forms of slavery that still shackle our world. Some forms of slavery appear distant, other forms are near, integrated into our everyday experience. In the first category, perhaps I would place the ongoing shame of...

Yetzer haTov and Democracy

I have always believed that the ideals of American democracy were a sure sign of the Infinite Source of Goodness in the Cosmos. The very fact that those ideals were articulated by very flawed human beings, people who sanctioned the genocide of the native population,...

Increasing Holiness this Chanukah

This year more than ever we await with great anticipation the beginning of the Festival of Lights. Chanukah, is a time for family, for celebrating freedom, and most of all, the miracle of light in our lives. This year our celebrations may be significantly curtailed,...

On Sukkot, Rabbi Ira Stone

The French-Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas once said that his whole philosophy could be reduced to two words: Apres vous, “After you.” It is a cliché, perhaps, to assert that good manners are the foundation of the ethical life, but like all cliches there is more...

High Holy Day Message from Rabbi Ira Stone

The Torah is a template for interpretation; not a very new or radical idea, however we often don’t fully appreciate how important this fact is. Since the Torah is also a magnificently constructed narrative we are often seduced by the narrative and ask ourselves: “What...

On Elul, by Rabbi Ira Stone

All of us at the Center For Contemporary Mussar are very excited about our upcoming Elul learning program. In these difficult days, when most of us will be unable to take advantage of in-person religious programs leading up to and including the High Holy Days, the...

Special Offering From Rabbi Stone

Discover Solace through Study: Torah & Mussar with Rabbi Stone Join us on Zoom (instructional link below) Every Thursday beginning March 26, 1:00-2:00 PMPlease register below to receive details Dear Chevre,   In light of the fact that many of us are now in various...

Festival Of Shavuot

One of the central pillars of Mussar thought and practice, often either overlooked or dismissed, is that of obligation. The metaphoric shorthand for this concept is the Sinai moment and as we approach the festival of Shavuot which celebrates this moment in the...