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Editorial & Opinion | Musings

08/25/2015 - 20:00 | | Special to the Jewish Week | Musings

The miracles of the Bible are mostly survival miracles: water splitting so the Israelites can cross, manna dropping in the desert so they can eat, the sun stopping in its course so Joshua can win a battle. But there are also what we might call miracles of extravagance — Samson’s strength or Jacob’s striped sheep. These are not miracles designed to help human beings survive, but to help them thrive.

08/18/2015 - 20:00 | | Special to the Jewish Week | Musings

Much of Judaism teaches acceptance. Who is happy? ask the Rabbis — one who is satisfied with what he has. Surely part of living a good life is to accept and appreciate.

08/11/2015 - 20:00 | | Special to the Jewish Week | Musings

When I travel I try very hard to imagine my life in the next few days so that I know how to pack. I actually give more imaginative forethought to travel than I do to days when I’m at home. At home there is everything I need, and I don’t have to anticipate contingencies.

08/04/2015 - 20:00 | | Special to the Jewish Week | Musings

When I was young my father told me a story about a boy and his father who were walking along a road. The boy spotted a large rock. “Do you think I can move that rock?” the boy asked his father. His father answered, “I’m sure you can, if you use all your strength.” The boy walked over to the rock and pushed and pushed, but the rock didn’t budge. “You were wrong,” he said. “I tried as hard as I could, and I failed.”

07/28/2015 - 20:00 | | Special to the Jewish Week | Musings

Here is a remarkable passage from Aldous Huxley’s “The Devils of Loudun”: “a seventeenth century palace was totally without privacy. Architects had not yet invented the corridor. To get from one part of the building to another, one simply walked through a succession of other people’s rooms, in which literally anything might be going on.”

07/21/2015 - 20:00 | | Special to the Jewish Week | Musings

We are taught in the Torah that one is supposed to leave a corner of one’s field unharvested for the poor (peah). The Rabbis in the Mishna ask the following question: What if a man who has fields at home is traveling and hungry; may he take from the peah (yes), and more interestingly, when he gets home, should he contribute to compensate for what he has taken?