Editorial & Opinion | Musings

03/05/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

The ancient historian Tacitus recounts that when Jerusalem was conquered and the Roman general Pompey walked into the Holy of Holies in the Temple, he found it empty. Surely this perplexed the future emperor. Uniquely among ancient civilizations, there was no image or picture of God in the Temple. Pompey probably did not know it, but he was witnessing Judaism’s greatest counterintuitive gift to the world.

02/28/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

"Jerusalem was destroyed," teaches the Talmud, “because judgments were rendered strictly upon the law of the Torah.” In other words, the quality of mercy was missing from the courts of the day. Untempered by humility and humanity, the law is destructive.

02/18/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

I’m often asked to recommend books. Here are five unique and powerful modern works that you may have missed or forgotten. These works will enrich, elevate and educate any Jew, indeed any human being.

02/12/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Rabbi Tarfon was very rich. One day, Rabbi Akiva met him and said, “My master, shall I purchase for you a town or two?” “Yes,” said Rabbi Tarfon, and immediately gave Rabbi Akiva 4,000 gold dinars. Akiva distributed the money to poor scholars.

02/05/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Idolatry is alluring. An idol is something one can touch and feel and is made with human hands. Although idols in antiquity traditionally represented forces beyond themselves, they were still the visible, tangible symbols to which people clung and to which they prayed.

01/29/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

When I was 9, my father took me from Harrisburg, Pa., to Baltimore for my first live baseball game. The Orioles won, 6-2. (I remember that Elston Howard hit a home run for the Yankees.) We drove back home and I slept the entire way, shocked and muddled when we pulled up in front of the house.