Ben Perlstein, a Young Judaea and Tel Yehudah alumnus, has recently embarked on a new and interesting project in the blogosphere! Ben describes his new blog as a weekly series of Torah commentaries, inspired by the parsha of the week and focusing on the relationship between creativity and morality in the Jewish tradition. Drawing on a wide variety of, primarily but not exclusively, Jewish and Western philosophical and theological sources, the blog aims to provide a rich and relevant window into perennial and cutting-edge questions that face us in religion, politics, relationships, work, current events, and other areas of life that call for an integrated understanding of creativity and morality.
This Shabbat, Jews around the globe will read Chayei Sarah - the fifth parsha of the whole Torah (we started at Bereshit, the first chapter of The Book of Genesis, only a few weeks ago after Simchat Torah). In this week's blog, Ben shares his insights into what we might learn from the happenings of Chayei Sarah:
Jewish identity itself is a mystery of continuity that stretches over the course of more than twenty-five centuries. We cannot hope to settle the debate over why and how exactly the Jewish tradition has survived and thrived so consistently over so many generations. But Parshat Chayei Sarah gives us insight into the very first of the intergenerational transitions in the chain. And as an appeal to those in every successive generation who worry that theirs might be the last in their respective moral and creative traditions, our parsha makes a particularly hopeful case for continuity by showcasing an intergenerational process that begins in the most desperate circumstances imaginable.
In Judaism, we cycle through the same stories and same parashot year after year. Ben's blog is a refreshing reminder that each time, we can read a parsha slightly differently than before and glean a whole new insight or set of learnings. We're all for that!
Read Ben's full blog post here: Chayei Sarah: Creativity, Continuity and Death | Benjamin Perlstein | The Blogs | The Times of Israel.
Follow Ben's blog about the weekly parsha, hosted on The Times of Israel.
Ben Perlstein attended Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake (2000-2003, Hadracha+ 2006), Tel Yehudah (2004-2006), and Machon in Israel (2007). Ben was also involved in Young Judaea movement activities and held leadership roles on New England Regional Mazkirut (2006-2007) and National Mazkirut (2007-2008). We were lucky to have Ben return to join the Tel Yehudah staff (Madrich 2008-2009, Merakez 2012) where he passed on his passion and inspired the teens and staff members he worked with summer after summer. Ben is originally from Massachusetts and currently lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.