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Editorial & Opinion | Musings

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.

04/27/2016 - 08:59 | | Musings

So Moses said, ‘I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.’ When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’