Covenant Versus Consumer Education

January 31, 2023

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We should all be seen as equal objects of favor and respect before God and build lives of intrinsic human dignity and individuality.

It is an honor to be here at Brigham Young University, a stellar university that stands by the side of its students in their faith journey, graduating outstanding leaders and citizens of our country. My deepest thanks to President Kevin J Worthen for inviting me to speak at this forum. I remember that when I received the invitation, I was so excited to come to BYU in January. And then I looked closely and saw that it was not BYU–Hawaii. But I have to say that the deep appreciation I have for the weather here is offset only by the tremendous warmth and hospitality of my reception by this amazing BYU community.

Every day on the way to my office on the twelfth floor of our Belfer Hall, I am reminded of Yeshiva University’s storied history. Right before I enter the doors of my office, I see the pictures of the four previous university presidents who have stewarded our institution, each of whom built upon the successes of their predecessors in navigating the challenges and opportunities of each generation.

But as I walk past the office lobby and stop outside the door to my office, I am reminded of the larger history—beyond our institution—of religious education in America. Outside of my office is a framed letter—the original of which is owned by our university museum—written in May 1818 by Thomas Jefferson to Mordecai Manuel Noah, a prominent Jewish leader at the time. In this letter, Jefferson speaks of the Jewish condition in America:

Your sect by its sufferings has furnished a remarkable proof of the universal spirit of religious intolerance, inherent in every sect, disclaimed by all while feeble, and practised by all when in power.1

Jefferson opens by remarking on the sad universal state of religious intolerance to which the Jewish people bear witness by their sufferings throughout history. He continues by noting that

our laws have applied the only antidote to this vice, protecting our religious as they do our civil rights by putting all on an equal footing. But more remains to be done. For altho’ we are free by the law, we are not so in practice. Public opinion erects itself into an inquisition and exercises its office with as much fanaticism as fans the flames of an auto-da-fé.2

Here, Jefferson remarkably speaks to the fact that there are two forces in public life that have enormous power to coerce and subjugate religion. The first is the law, which he believes has been set up successfully in the United States to protect religious minorities. The second is public opinion, which still poses a threat, as there are many ungovernable ways in which “public opinion” can be unleashed against a religious minority. But Jefferson proposes a solution to this universal dilemma of religious intolerance:

Nothing I think would be so likely to effect this as to your sect particularly as the more careful attention to education, which you recommend, and which placing its members on the equal and commanding benches of science will exhibit them as equal objects of respect and favor.3

The answer, Thomas Jefferson writes, is in education. For by educating Jews to be experts in the sciences, in the scholastic and professional fields, we will then be thought of as “equal objects of respect and favor.”

This letter was written in 1818, but as it addresses the fundamental challenge facing religious minorities in a democracy, it could have been written today. For still in this country, two hundred years later, we are at times faced with an environment in which public opinion acts like an auto-da-fé, in which we have seen and experienced modern-day leaders and influencers who fan the flames of religious intolerance.

Although Jefferson’s advice focusing on education has guided our institution and so many others—as we have consistently advanced education and placed our graduates on “equal and commanding benches [in areas such as] science”—still, as Jefferson himself notes, more remains to be done.

For all of our scientific achievements, for all of our contributions to medicine, for all of our rich literary history, and for all of the personal stories of the generations that have been woven into the tapestry of the American story, more remains to be done. Religious education is still seen with suspicion. Interaction with the larger academic community is often framed as progress versus tradition, acceleration versus stagnation, an innovative vision of the future versus one that is shackled to the ideas of the past.

This framing of religious education as being outdated and debilitating is not so easily dismissed in our current cultural milieu. And while this framing is unfair and fundamentally wrong, I do believe that it is part of our collective work to formulate and highlight the enduring value of education in a religious setting. We must explain first to ourselves and our children and then to the world the value and need for a religious education. For in the absence of a compelling frame, we will not only be more susceptible to suffer the “remarkable proof of the universal spirit of religious intolerance” but, even more significantly, to deprive our next generations and our nation of the opportunities that a proper framing of a religious education promises to all.

I want to share with you today how I conceptualize the need and value of education in a religious institution, and it is not solely through our contributions to science or any area of the academy but through a larger approach to life itself that touches the soul of our nation.

The Consumer “I” Versus the Covenant “We”

We live in a consumer society, one in which the acquisition of goods, products, and status is often seen not as a means to an end but as an end to itself. The great Jewish theologian and public intellectual Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of blessed memory once lightly put it this way:

The consumer society was laid down by the late Steve Jobs coming down the mountain with two tablets, iPad one and iPad two, and the result is that we now have a culture of iPod, iPhone, iTune, i, i, i.4

This focus on the “I” fosters a very individualistic, egocentric culture in which one is constantly reminded by product placements and commercialism of all that one does not have instead of being thankful for what one does have. And the result is obvious, as Rabbi Sacks writes: “Through constant creation of dissatisfaction, the consumer society is in fact a highly sophisticated mechanism for the production and distribution of unhappiness.”5

But there is another model of life that is based not on the consumer but on the covenant. The covenant was first introduced by God to Noah and all the descendants of the world and then afterward was given specifically to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their children, the Jewish people. In this worldview, one’s goals, life decisions, and very sense of self are thought of in a whole different context.

By illustration, I will share a story that just happened to me that highlights one aspect of this covenantal perspective. Three months ago, my father passed away. My father was a very important figure in my life, a loving presence in my heart. These past number of years he was not well. He had lost some of his strength and vitality. He was a man with great force and great spirit, and it was hard to see him lose that over these past few years. But his passing was unexpected, profoundly painful, and difficult.

Judaism provides us a set pattern of mourning to help the mourner through the different stages of grief, allowing the mourner to integrate this painful new reality of the loss into his or her life. One of the customs of mourning is for the mourner to recite a prayer called kaddish that publicly sanctifies God’s name every day, three times a day, during our daily prayers. One of the requirements of this prayer is that it can only be said in a service with a quorum—and that requires ten men being present for prayer. Now this is not difficult when I, for example, am in Yeshiva University, where there are prayer quorums running throughout the day. But when I travel, it becomes more of a challenge.

Here is my story. During our winter intersession break, Yeshiva University had a student leadership trip that went to Rome and a second one that visited Morocco. I joined the trips and every day prayed in a quorum with my students. But there was a day in between that I traveled from one country to the next and did not have students for a prayer quorum for both afternoon and evening services.

So what did I do? When I was in Rome, I visited a Jewish day school. I shared my dilemma with the head of school, and that afternoon ten teenagers who I had never met before left their classes to pray afternoon services with me. Afterward I boarded a plane and landed in Casablanca, Morocco. There is only one synagogue in Casablanca, and it had finished its services hours before I arrived. Knowing this ahead of time, my office called a parent of one of our students who lives in Casablanca and asked him for his advice about what I should do.

“No problem,” he said. “Just come to the synagogue whenever you arrive.”

My flight was a little delayed. I took a taxi from the airport and got there after 10 p.m. Meeting me at the synagogue was the parent with eight other men who I had never met before but who came to pray evening services with me to help me commemorate my father’s memory. Not only that, but they also suspected that I might be hungry after my trip, so they had prepared for me a catered four-course dinner, and we ate together until after midnight. Though I had never met them before, it was like I was coming home.

From afternoon prayers with Jewish teenagers in Rome to evening services with Sephardic men in Casablanca to a late morning service in London with a room of Chassidim—Jews with beards and side curls who date their origins to eighteenth-century Poland—I have prayed with these strangers, and they have helped me commemorate the life of my father. None of these people had ever met me before. In our lifetimes we had never been introduced.

What is it that enabled me to join their circle so easily? Why were they moved to help someone whom they had never met? Here is the secret—the secret of the Jewish people. We are all the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We all share the same mothers: Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel. Although we have never personally met, we are all one family.

Now if our personal identity started when we were born, this would not make any sense. But our sense of identity is covenantal. It is not defined by the moment but by our past. From a consumer perspective, the past is history. You can learn from it and it might be interesting, but it is history—events that occurred at different times and places. From the covenantal perspective, the past is not history; it is memory. Stories about the Exodus, Maimonides, the Holocaust, the founding of the State of Israel—these are not historical matters to us. They are passed down from generation to generation; they are all part of our memory and our identity.

What greater expression of this point is there than the warmth shown to me to help me commemorate the memory of my father? Our whole lives are memory. My loss is their loss. My story is their story. We are linked in our grieving for the dead because we are bound by a covenant for life.

So far we have spoken about one key difference between the consumer and the covenant: the consumer focuses on the “I” and what is missing from life, creating a mechanism for fundamental unhappiness, while the covenant is focused on the “we,” guiding one to contemplate their life in a broader sense of memory and purpose in the service of others. Let’s discuss a second difference and then apply it to the world of education.

Covenant Relationships

When I served as a congregational rabbi, I would often advise people who were dating. I was always struck by those who came in with a long checklist about what they were looking for in a spouse. Some examples of items I would find on these checklists included a detailed style of dress, a specified number of hours a day spent in religious study, a very specific type of personality, and a list of acceptable institutional affiliations and professional occupations. Of course compatibility is important, but a checklist is not how it will be found. Relationships, unlike purchases, are things that evolve and deepen—they are created together. A purchase is unilateral. If a car doesn’t meet your specifications, it will not serve your purposes. But marriage is covenantal. It is not about objects but about relationships, and it requires leaps of faith.

In C. S. Lewis’s book A Grief Observed, which describes his grief after his wife passed away, Lewis noted that what he missed most about his wife was the way she surprised him. It was not what he knew about her already that excited him—it was what he did not know. It was the alterity, the mystery. It was the different and unexpected ways in which his wife grew and evolved that pushed him to grow and evolve as well.6 This is different than a consumer. The consumer model is about acquiring possessions. It values detailed knowledge, metrics, research, and analytics and prioritizes the known and certain. But the model of the covenant is different. It prizes faith, empathy, loyalty, curiosity, and discovery.

To be clear, there is a comfort in being a consumer. One knows the product, reads the warranty, and has the instruction manual. There is very little risk. In the covenantal model, however, there is exposure, vulnerability, uncertainty, and great risk. But the upside is different as well. The consumer model is only transactional; the covenantal model is transformational.

One of the primary challenges in living in a consumer culture is confusing the two modalities. One should not go to the supermarket and approach their purchase of breakfast cereal as if they are forming a covenantal bond with it, and one must not seek a spouse with the perspective of a consumer. When these lines are crossed, it creates problems. On the one hand, people fall in love with their cars, their vacations, or their corner offices, and on the other hand, people do not truly fall in love with their spouses, their purpose, or those around them. Living in a consumer culture—as we do—can affect our thinking and deeply impact fundamental aspects of our lives, including the way we date, build relationships, and plan for our future.

The consumer culture also impacts the way we think of education. This is core to our mission at Yeshiva University, and I will flesh it out by focusing on three questions:

1. Who are our students?

2. How do we study? 

3. Why do we study?

Who Are Our Students?

The covenantal perspective is predicated on the notion that everyone has a place within the covenant. Our educational mission is to help our students discover their own individual story and experience within our larger one.

The guiding light of our community and the most esteemed rabbi ever to teach at Yeshiva University was Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik of blessed memory. He was the scion of one of the most revered rabbinic families in all of Jewish history. He was a master of Talmud and secular knowledge, and his students and legacy animate our institution. He once said:

I may have very few good traits, but one trait which I do possess is my inability to imitate anyone else. I always want to be myself and to display my unique dignity of having been created in the image of God. The glory of the individual is exemplified by the singularity of every human being. This concept is the motto of my life. . . .

. . . I do not like to do what others can do better or just as well. I wish to do that which I am unique at! This is not an expression of haughtiness; no, it is a fulfillment of my intrinsic human dignity and individuality.7

This is the essence of a covenantal education, a recognition that each individual is created in God’s divine image and is, as such, unique. Our role is to help our students find, nourish, and develop their unique qualities so that they can become the best versions of themselves.

When I speak to my students, I try to speak in a way that will resonate, so on this point I often quote from the movie Chariots of Fire. Let me share a message from a key moment in that movie. But first, let me set the scene.

Eric Liddell was a Scottish runner who won several gold medals in the 1924 Paris Olympics. Liddell came from a family of missionaries, and there is one scene in the movie in which his sister confronts him and asks him why, as a believer, he spends so much of his life in running competitions rather than joining alongside his family to spread the word of God. Eric responds to his sister by explaining, “I believe that God made me for a purpose. . . . But He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”8

We all have a different way of feeling God’s pleasure. We were each created for a purpose. And we each experience God’s presence in our own unique ways. Our educational goal is to help students discover and develop the capacity to experience God’s pleasure by finding the godliness within themselves, to help them identify and develop what makes them distinct, and to help them on their journey of becoming the person they were always meant to become. This is very different from education in a consumer society.

In a consumer society, people are objects. This comes in one of two varieties: As the saying goes, if you are not paying for the product, then you are the product. Either you are simply a source for someone else’s income as the buyer or, worse, you are the product being sold—whether it’s your personal information, your attention span for ads, or the whole host of ways our current market has to capitalize on your time and turn you into a dollar sign.

In a covenantal society, however, education is not just a window into the world; it is a light into the soul. What you study helps develop your whole personality. Whether you, too, are a runner or an artist, an educator or a healer, a values-driven education creates opportunities for you to develop the different aspects of the self—to discover purpose and to experience divine pleasure in self-expression.

Who are our students? Each student is different. Each student is born in God’s divine image, and it is holy work for us to be by their side in support of their personal journey.

How Do We Study?

The answer to the question “How do we study?” dates back to the time of the Bible. When the Jewish people accepted the Torah at Sinai, they collectively uttered the famous Hebrew words naaseh v’nishma—“we will do and then we will listen.” It’s a strange phrasing. Usually you first need to hear the instructions and only afterward can you agree to execute the actions. “We will do and then we will understand.” How can you do without understanding?

The rabbis explain that covenantal relationships are different from the very beginning. In a consumer society, knowledge precedes commitment. One needs to know what one is buying before deciding on the exchange. The more you know, the better position you are in. But in a covenantal relationship, it is the opposite: commitment precedes knowledge. One cannot access the knowledge unless one is first fully committed. It is like marriage, as we said before. Only once there is a commitment can vulnerability be exposed; one puts in the work, even through the hard times, to reach levels of closeness that are otherwise impossible to reach. That is what the Jewish people said about the Torah:

God says to Moses and the people, “I have a book.”

The Jewish people answer, “I am in!”

“Don’t you want to know what it says?”

“No, I am in,” they respond. “You got me at ‘hello.’ Now that I am in, I’ll go study it.”

This orientation switches the premises. My commitment is not dependent on the difficulty of the text or the way it makes me feel at the moment. I am here to study it and keep it. And because of this attitude, we are driven to explore, study, and grapple with the Torah, Jewish ideas, and knowledge as a whole. We believe that all disciplines of knowledge teach us something about ourselves and God, so we are committed to understanding them.

I see this commitment at Yeshiva University every day. There are not enough hours in the day for our students; they are so dedicated and hardworking. Last year, for example, we had a phenomenon in which our Division III men’s basketball team won fifty games in a row. People in this country and throughout the world were transfixed by the fact that the stereotypes were broken and that Jews were winning in basketball. We were, at the time, number one in the country. The New York Times, ESPN, and the Wall Street Journal all covered us. 

And our team is amazing. They play with their head coverings, with their kippot. Before every game we sing not just “The Star-Spangled Banner” but the Israeli national anthem because we are both proud patriots and Zionists. And our players are the first not just to score a bucket but to extend their hand when an opponent falls to the floor. Our players know that when they walk out onto the court, that when they play for Yeshiva University, they aren’t just playing for a school, they are playing for a people.

But lost in all the coverage was the fact that our team had to find time to even practice basketball. You see, our typical college schedule is grueling. We have two curriculums: a Jewish curriculum and a secular, academic one. Every student at Yeshiva University spends hours a day studying the Torah and the Talmud—many not for any credit—before they even begin their academic classes. A large percentage of our student body returns to the study hall for extra Torah learning at night. This is not to mention that we have prayer services three times a day. To be a student at Yeshiva University, you have to be totally committed. Naaseh v’nishma—commitment precedes knowledge. The amazing part of the story that was generally left unsaid in the press was that our basketball team did not get out of any classes. They had to go through the same rigorous Torah and academic schedule as everyone else and find the time before or afterward to practice, because our core commitment is to education.

This is the story of the Jewish people: a lifelong, passionate appreciation and devotion to pursue Torah specifically and knowledge in general. And at the root of this is the mandate to seek truth—to learn the truth of the Torah and, as Maimonides taught us, to seek the truth wherever it is found.9 We were committed from Sinai, and we remain committed until this day and forever.

This differs from a consumer society in which the study of knowledge is utilitarian. How does it help your career? How can you use it to get ahead in life? Of course we have that too. And we have highly ranked schools and great career numbers. That, too, is an important part of life. But that does not drive our quest. For us, passionate study does not end upon graduation but continues throughout one’s life.

In the consumer model, education is about utility; in the covenant model, it is about mystery. Education is predicated upon commitment, and it runs throughout our lives. And just like with relationships, if we approach our educational journeys with the incorrect spirit as a consumer, there are consequences.

So long as higher education is exclusively focused on information and research for utility, we will be outpaced by technological change. Information drives consumer decisions, and there are better ways to access information than in the halls of a university. Just ask ChatGPT. But the covenantal model of faith will always provide meaning and values for the lives of our students. Faith nourishes, strengthens, and enriches life. It guides one beyond acquisition of information toward an earnest quest for truth.

How do we study? With a lifelong passion to seek the truth.

Why Do We Study?

This brings us to the final question: “Why do we study?” We study because we are deeply rooted and forward focused.

Often when I speak about the beginning of Yeshiva University, I hear a very common question: “Rabbi, we know that Yeshiva was established in 1886 and is well over a hundred years old. But why do you speak about Yeshiva as if it were three thousand years old?”

I explain that it is because we date our beginning from Moses at Sinai. That is the beginning of Yeshiva University. And in every generation we have faithfully transmitted our tradition from generation to generation until today. Yeshiva University is a continuation of that story. But if we date our beginning at Sinai, what is our end? The end is redemption.

Most universities, as part of the consumer society, have a five-year strategic plan. As with any good business, we have that as well. But in addition to the five-year plan, we also consider a greater future. Imagine being in a company that has a one-thousand-year strategic plan. It changes the nature of the conversation when you speak in these terms. And when you enter into this conversation, you have moved past the consumer and into the covenant. This is what we teach our students.

Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”10 We do not end until there is justice for all. And we teach our students to bend the arc, to use their God-given talents and skills to live a life of contribution and service and to locate their studies and personal development within a greater story. And in this story they are all leaders. Our students are the leaders of tomorrow because they contextualize their lives within our covenant of faith. Faith is a reminder that your life is part of a larger story. Faith is a reminder that your life has a story, that you are not just accidents of history but drivers of history.

Why do we study? To lead lives of contribution and service for the Jewish people and for the world at large.

These are our three questions:

1. Who are our students? Each student is born in God’s divine image, and it is holy work for us to be by their side in support of their personal journey.

2. How do we study? With a lifelong passion to seek the truth.

3. Why do we study? To lead lives of contribution and service.

These are the hallmarks of an educational institution with a covenantal framework; of an institution that prizes faith, empathy, commitment, loyalty, curiosity, resilience, and discovery while highlighting the importance of being thankful for what one has and looking for opportunities to help others; of an institution focused less on the “I” and more on the “we.”

And I think this is the opportunity for us today. I usually speak at Yeshiva University, which is called, in short, YU. Today I stand at BYU. This very conversation represents opportunity: new bonds being forged and new friendships being developed. And this is a model that can be expanded. There is so much talk of polarization in this country between the right and the left, Republicans and Democrats. But perhaps we can use our language to help heal divides, to reframe the narrative and address the real crisis in America, which is a crisis of meaning. As the twentieth-century thinker and Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning, we all are seeking purpose and meaning in life.11 The consumer society provides answers that are ephemeral and not fulfilling. Perhaps what we need is to establish a covenant across America—one that is built on the recognition of the sanctity of each individual, a quest for truth, and an ambition to inspire the next generation to lead lives of service and contribution.

A Covenantal Worldview

Come with me now: let us return to my office. Outside my office stand the words of President Thomas Jefferson. For Jefferson, education in a religious setting is to stem the problem of religious intolerance. Perhaps if minorities contribute more visibly, they will be seen—we will be seen—on equal footing with the rest of society.

While that is a worthy goal—one that we continue to deeply hope and pray for—for us education has a different purpose entirely. This purpose was described by Moses in the Hebrew Bible in one of his last talks to the Jewish people. He stood in the desert plains outside of Israel and said:

Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?

And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?12

In contrast to Jefferson, Moses teaches us that education does more than place its members on the equal and commanding benches of science so that we can be seen as equal objects of respect and favor. Our Torah is meant to be a beacon of redemptive light to show society the wisdom, decency, and dignity of living committed, spiritual, and meaningful lives. Our values-driven education shows society that there is more to life than being a consumer. We can approach the world and our lives as a covenant, where commitment precedes knowledge, where instead of making transactions we are transformed.

Our education, in both our religious and academic studies, is a fulfillment of our covenantal worldview. Our five core Torah values that emerge from this worldview are displayed all throughout our campus: (1) seek truth, (2) discover your potential, (3) live your values, (4) act with compassion, and (5) bring redemption. Jefferson’s mission is more than two hundred years old; our educational mission is more than three thousand years old.

Our education is not just so people will better appreciate the Jewish people. It is not just to get our students better jobs. It is not for the rankings of U.S. News and World Report. Everything we do is in service of a higher calling. An important Hebrew phrase appears just under the Yeshiva University logo: ha-kol lichvodo—“everything is created with the potential to bring honor to our Creator.” And that is our educational mission at Yeshiva University—ha-kol lichvodo—to educate our students to develop what is holy within them, bringing honor to God.

Let me close, then, with one last story. Last week I stood in a cemetery on the outskirts of Jerusalem for the unveiling of my father’s tombstone. In the Jewish tradition, during the year of mourning the family places a stone on the grave, describing the deceased and marking his eternal resting place. But while I participated in this very emotional ceremony, I knew that this did not truly capture my reality, because my father does not rest in the ground. He rests in my heart, and I carry him with me wherever I go—as he carried his father, as his father carried his, dating back to Moses and back to Abraham.

In the name of my father and all the fathers who have stood before me, in the name of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and our mothers Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel, we will faithfully continue to transmit the terms of the covenant to our children and grandchildren, spreading God’s word and infusing the world with God’s Spirit.

A consumer model questions value. A covenant model discovers value, and a life of covenant brings mystery, meaning, and purpose. We should all be seen as equal objects of favor and respect before God and build lives of intrinsic human dignity and individuality. ודוככל לכה (ha-kol lichvodo)—all in service of our higher calling, bringing honor to God. Thank you.

© Ari Berman. All rights reserved.


1. Thomas Jefferson, letter to Mordecai Manuel Noah, 28 May 1818; punctuation standardized.

2. Jefferson, letter to Noah; capitalization and punctuation standardized.

3. Jefferson, letter to Noah; punctuation standardized.

4. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, quoted in Jonathan Wynne-Jones and Martin Beckford, “Chief Rabbi Blames Apple for Helping Create Selfish Society,” Telegraph, 19 November 2011.

5. Jonathan Sacks, “Shabbat and the Golden Calf: Reflections on the Great Crash of 2008,” in Exodus: The Book of Redemption, vol. 2, Covenant and Conversation: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible (New Milford, Connecticut: Maggid Books and the Orthodox Union, 2010), 262.

6. See C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (1961), chapter 2.

7. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, “21.02 Yeshiva University I,” in Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, The Rav: The World of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, vol. 2, ed. Joseph Epstein (Brooklyn, New York: KTAV Publishing House, 1999), 225–26.

8. The character Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire (1981).

9. See Moses Maimonides, cited in the foreword to The Eight Chapters of Maimonides on Ethics (Shemonah Perakim): A Psychological and Ethical Treatise, ed. and trans. Joseph Isaac Gorfinkle (New York: Columbia University Press, 1912), 35–36.

10. Martin Luther King Jr. used this phrase in many speeches, including “Our God Is Marching On!” Montgomery, Alabama, 25 March 1965. King was paraphrasing Theodore Parker in “III. Of Justice and the Conscience,” Ten Sermons of Religion (Boston: Crosby, Nichols, and Company, 1853), 84–85.

11. See Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning (1946).

12. Deuteronomy 4:6–8.

See the complete list of abbreviations here

Ari Berman

Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, delivered this forum address on January 31, 2023.