About the Author

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt”l was an international religious leader, philosopher, and respected moral voice. The author of over 35 books, he received multiple awards in recognition of his work including the 2016 Templeton Prize. He was the recipient of 18 honorary doctorates, and was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 2005 and made a Life Peer, taking his seat in the House of Lords in October 2009. Rabbi Sacks zt”l served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013. Rabbi Sacks zt”l was born on the 8th March 1948 and passed away on the 7th November 2020 (Shabbat Kodesh 20th MarCheshvan 5781). These weekly teachings from Rabbi Sacks zt”l are part of the ‘Covenant & Conversation’ series on the weekly Torah reading. Read more essays from the series on www.rabbisacks.org. Also available: The FAMILY EDITION of Covenant & Conversation, designed to enhance your parsha conversation with everyone from teenagers to great-great-grandparents. To read and print this family-friendly learning resource, for an inter-generational discussion around your Shabbat table on Rabbi Sacks’ ideas for the week, please click here.

Parsha: On Leadership: Righteousness Is Not Leadership

It is not enough to be righteous if that means turning our backs on a society that is guilty of wrongdoing.

The Transformative Power of Ideas

Judaism is a way of understanding the world and contains life-changing ideas.

Parsha: The Arc of the Moral Universe

In the long run, tyrannies are defeated. Empires decline and fall. Goodness and rightness win the final battle.

Parsha: Not Beyond the Sea

You don't need to climb a mountain or enter an ashram to find the Divine Presence. The beauty of Jewish spirituality is God is near.

Parsha: How to Renew a Nation

Parsha: Be Silent and Listen

One of the gifts of this strange, difficult time has been the ability to slow down the prayers so that I am able to listen to them speaking to me.

Parsha: Does Love Conquer All?*

Parsha: A Sage is Greater than a Prophet

Parsha: The Good Society

The test of a society is not military, political, economic or demographic. It is moral and spiritual.

Parsha: The Covenant and the Love

Parsha: The Infinite Game

The moral life is an infinite game which cannot be reduced to only rules.

Parsha: Followership

Parsha: The Religious Significance of Israel

Only in Israel can the Jewish people construct a political system, an economy, and an environment on the template of Jewish values.

Parsha: My Teacher: In Memoriam

Parsha: Moral v. Political Decisions

The coronavirus pandemic raised a series of deep moral and political issues. This week's Torah portion sheds some light.

Parsha: Kohelet, Tolstoy and the Red Heifer

Death forces us to confront our deepest fears.

Parsha: The Hidden Meaning of the Bilam Story

Parsha: How Not to Argue

Korach and the cancel culture.


The Jewish Algorithm: Why Every Jew Matters

A commencement speech from Rabbi Sacks.

Parsha: What Is Going On?

The story we tell affects the decisions we make. Get the story wrong and we can rob an entire generation of their future. Get it right, as did Joshua and Caleb, and we can achieve greatness.

Parsha: Loneliness and Faith

Parsha: The Blessing of Love

Parsha: Egalitarian Society, Jewish-Style

Parsha: The Power of a Curse

Parsha: Radical Uncertainty

Parsha: The Courage to Admit Mistakes

Judaism helps us admit our mistakes in three ways.

Parsha: Words That Heal

Fred Rogers and the power of words.

Parsha: Limits

There is an order to the universe and we must respect it.

After the Plague: From I to We

The shared hell of WWII changed Britain for the better. Coronavirus will do the same.

Parsha: Left- and Right-Brain Judaism

Parsha: The Prophetic View of Sacrifice

Parsha: Communities and Crowds

To turn a group of individuals into a covenantal nation, they must build something together.

Parsha: The Power of Kol Nidrei

Parsha: Dressing to Impress

There is a place for aesthetics and the visual in the life of the spirit.

Why Harry S. Truman Recognized the State of Israel

Like Eddie Jacobson, God is calling on each of us, saying there is something only we can do.

Parsha: What Do We Receive When We Give?

Attaining dignity through giving.

Parsha: We Will Do and We Will Hear

Parsha: The Universal and the Particular

The God of Israel is the God of all humankind, even though the religion of Israel is not the religion of all humankind.

Parsha: Crossing the Sea


Guardians of the Earth: A Tu B'Shvat Video

Mankind has been given the mandate to use the earth, but not to destroy it.

Parsha: The Weighing of the Heart

The Exodus story of how the supreme Power entered history to liberate the supremely powerless, is not just for Jews. It is the world’s greatest metanarrative of hope.

Parsha: Faith in the Future

Parsha: Family, Faith and Freedom

Parsha: The Future of the Past

By allowing the present to reshape our understanding of the past, we redeem history, making it a positive force in our lives.

Parsha: Joseph and the Risks of Power

Parsha: The Angel Who Didn't Know He Was An Angel

Two incredible stories that illustrate the impact you may never know you have.

Rabbi Sacks' 8 Short Thoughts for Hanukkah

Illuminate Hanukkah with these inspiring insights.

Parsha: No Longer Shall You Be Called Jacob

Parsha: On Leadership: Light in Dark Times

To try, to fall, to fear, and yet to keep going: that is what it takes to be a leader.

Parsha: Laban the Aramean

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