Morality and the Dalai Lama - Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Sermon Ekev 5777

August 11, 2017
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon
Temple Emanu-El
Tucson, Arizona

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon & His Holiness the Dalai LamaThis week we read the great Torah portion of Ekev, which tells us how to be morally good.  It is a simple but high standard that is commanded here: listen and observe God’s rules in order to live life as we should. 

But even beyond our own standards of conduct, there are a few individuals in the world who transcend ordinary measures of human quality, and cross all boundary lines of national, religious, and ideological approval.  These are the exceedingly rare people who teach us profound things about our essential nature, and who, in their own lives, demonstrate true moral greatness.  The list is short, and some of the most prominent members have died fairly recently: Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and Elie Wiesel, for example.  You may have your own candidates. 

Prominent on anyone’s list of such luminaries is the 14th Dalai Lama.  He has been the religious leader of his people, Tibetan Buddhists, for nearly 80 years, and has represented both their aspirations for freedom and the common humanity in each one of us throughout his long career.  Many words of praise have been written about him—it is almost incidental that he is a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate—but most telling is that with all the accolades he has received for his wisdom, sagacity, learning, and courage, he is warm, charming, funny, and self-deprecating.  He embodies for Buddhists the supremely important value of compassion, which he demonstrates with grace and generosity to us all.

Read more: Morality and the Dalai Lama - Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Sermon Ekev 5777

On, and Off, the Temple Mount - Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Sermon Va’etchanan-Nachamu 5777

August 4, 2017
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon
Temple Emanu-El
Tucson, Arizona

I know that some of you may be here to find out what it was like to meet the Dalai Lama, and hear him teach, as I did while I was in northern India in July.  I can tell you tonight that it was inspirational and amazing, that he is an Security extraordinary human being, and that I will speak more about it next Shabbat.  That is, this is a teaser, and you have to tune in next week for the story of that experience, the rabbinical version of “what I did on my summer vacation.”

What I do want to talk about tonight is Israel, from which I returned early this past week.

Read more: On, and Off, the Temple Mount - Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Sermon Va’etchanan-Nachamu 5777

Hot Enough for You? - Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Sermon Korach 5777

June 23, 2017
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon
Temple Emanu-El
Tucson, Arizona

You know, it was a little bit hot this past week—like 116 degrees hot, like hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk hot, like the devil left here and went to hell for a break from the heat hot, like "It's so hot today I saw two trees fighting over a dog" hot. As the saying goes, “it’s a dry heat,” but so is the inside of a blast furnace and that doesn’t make it a great place to live and work.

Read more: Hot Enough for You? - Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Sermon Korach 5777

The 6-Day War 50 years later, Part II: The Sinai, the Golan, and Gaza - Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Sermon Naso 5777

June 2, 2017
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon
Temple Emanu-El
Tucson, Arizona

There are times when the difference between the Jewish lunar calendar and the American solar calendar provide and opportunity for additional reflection and exploration on important subjects.

This week is one of those times.  Three weeks ago we began providing some perspective on the 50th Anniversary of the 6-Day War, in advance of Yom Yerushalayim, which fell on the Hebrew calendar about two weeks ago, the holiday that commemorates the unification of the holy city of Jerusalem in 1967.  In May we explored the extraordinary events and miraculous military results of the 6-Day War itself in context.  We talked a great deal about the capital city of Israel, both the Old and New City, East and West Jerusalem. 

Read more: The 6-Day War 50 years later, Part II: The Sinai, the Golan, and Gaza - Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's...

Lighting the Lights - Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Sermon Beha'alotecha 5777

June 9, 2017
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon
Temple Emanu-El
Tucson, Arizona

I know I mentioned last week that I would continue to explore over the next few weeks the results of the 6-Day War from the perspective of half a century, the 50th Anniversary of which we remembered on the American calendar this past week.  I promise to return to that subject next week, when it will not be Volunteer Recognition Shabbat, but I do want to begin with one image that connects this signal anniversary with tonight’s special service.

Read more: Lighting the Lights - Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon's Sermon Beha'alotecha 5777

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