Modern resources can help us avoid repeating ancient mistakes


The biblical story of Joseph and his brothers spans four Torah readings – a full month on the yearly calendar. That’s a lot of coverage for a single story in the Torah. There must be many important lessons that the Torah is trying to teach us with this story.

For me, one fascinating part is how, after Joseph’s brothers had cast him into a dangerous pit, they sat down to have lunch. That to me is shocking. Was there no regret or remorse for this horrendous action? Apparently the Torah is teaching us that, as human beings, we are not necessarily going to make good choices – and that we won’t feel guilty for our wrong and harmful choices. That’s scary. And that’s where the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island comes in.

The Alliance has set up a system of Jewish values that inspires us to make the right choices and helps us understand some of the core Jewish values we should internalize in our lives.

To access this, go to the Alliance’s website, at, and then click on Jewish Resources. In the drop-down menu you will see a list of great Jewish sources that can educate us on how to be better Jews.

Whether it’s charity, or synagogue life, or Jewish education, or remembering the Holocaust, the Alliance is giving us the tools that Joseph’s brothers didn’t have. We can learn from our Jewish Alliance how not to repeat the grave mistakes that Joseph’s brothers made. 

MARC MANDEL is the rabbi at Touro Synagogue, in Newport.