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Editorial & Opinion | Musings

06/08/2016 - 08:17 | | Musings

When I was a child we lived next door to a very evil woman. At least, that’s what my brothers and I believed. We knew she was evil because when a ball we were playing with sailed over the fence into her yard, she always refused to return it. She was apparently upset that balls from the neighbors’ kids kept landing, splat, right in the middle of her carefully cultivated garden.

06/01/2016 - 08:33 | | Musings

The mind does not obey itself. My arm will rise if I “tell” it to, but I cannot want what I think I should want. Shelves of self-help books promise to make us desire less junk food, exercise more, release ourselves from obsessive love for the wrong person, renew our affection for the “right” person. But still, we cannot seem to want what we want to want.

05/25/2016 - 08:21 | | Musings

In the Jewish tradition a desecration of God’s name is called a “chilul Hashem.” R. Chaim of Volozhin teaches that “chilul” comes from the word “hallal,” meaning empty or void. The greatest desecration of God’s name is to believe the world is meaningless, without purpose.

05/18/2016 - 09:19 | | Musings

One of childhood’s great pleasures is to populate the world with imagination. It does not require elaborate equipment to engage a child. As the Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi said, “Children find everything in nothing; men find nothing in everything.”

05/11/2016 - 08:59 | | Musings

After the death of Aaron’s sons, God instructs Aaron on various rituals, including the atonement ritual on behalf of the people. There are three important lessons about grief in this juxtaposition.

05/04/2016 - 09:53 | | Musings

Humor is the balancing pole of the tightrope of life, and Jews have always used humor to remain upright. So, for example, the Talmud teaches that if a fledgling bird is found 50 cubits within a man’s property, it belongs to the owner of the property. If it is outside 50 cubits, it belongs to the person who finds it. A reasonable law, surely.