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Editorial & Opinion | Musings

05/21/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

The Midrash teaches that when the Israelites left Egypt, God enveloped them in “clouds of glory.” When they wished for bread, God provided manna. When they craved meat, God sent quails. Once these wishes had been granted, the people began to doubt, saying, “Is God among us, or not?” 
The point of the Midrash is that Israel could only feel God’s presence when they were receiving gifts. This is a common malady; many people pray for something and if they do not receive it assume that there is no God.

05/14/2012 - 20:00 | | Musings

A favorite weapon in the world of scholarship is the review. Some of the sharpest words ever spoken by one scholar about another are offered not over claret in the sitting room but in the pages of learned journals where each can prove his or her essential superiority to the one who wrote the offending book.

05/07/2012 - 20:00 | | Musings

Kadosh, the Hebrew word for “holy,” also means separate. Yet kiddushin, the word for the sanctification of marriage, comes from the same root. How can togetherness come from separateness?

04/30/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Why does God command Abraham to sacrifice his son, only to countermand the command at the last moment?

04/23/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Each Shabbat evening we turn toward the door during “Lecha Dodi” to greet the “Sabbath Bride.” This tradition harkens back to the hills of 16th-century Safed and reminds us that Judaism cherishes what we cannot see.

04/16/2012 - 20:00 | | Musings

The Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas talks about the “meaningful world into which the face of the Other has introduced me.” For Levinas, our ethics are a result of appreciating the existence of another human being, a human face, before us. By ignoring others we shirk our abiding responsibility.