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Editorial & Opinion | Musings

01/14/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

In “How Much Land Does a Man Need?,” Tolstoy tells of a man who discovers that for a small fee, he can have as much land as he can walk around in a single day. Driven by greed, the man wakes early, walks so far that he cannot get back to his starting point, and in the end dies of a heart attack brought on by the effort. He is buried in a six-foot plot of land, thus ironically answering the title’s question.

01/07/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

I am a great fan of mystery novels. I have read more than I can count, along with books about the history of the genre, and have many favorites. Part of the joy is that mysteries both illuminate extremes of human character and satisfy our craving for justice, usually with a clever puzzle thrown in. From Poe’s Dupin, often reckoned the first fictional detective, through Holmes and the golden age of Bentley, Christie and up to Rex Stout, P.D. James, Connolly and Jo Nesbo today, the detective usually represents, however imperfectly, the thirst for what is right.

12/31/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Are you angry? Depressed? Joyous? The usual answer is: “It depends when you ask me. What I feel at this moment is not necessarily what I will feel later.”

12/24/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

There are evil things in the world, of course, but too often “evil” is a category that helps us to avoid thinking. When I mention a political figure, some will grapple with that person’s ideas. Others, far too many, will accuse her or him of hostility, evil, secret origins or nefarious aims. It is as if they cannot imagine that someone with good intentions would think other than they do or act in different ways from their own dispositions.

12/17/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

In 1974, the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote a letter to Eric Hoffer, the great longshoreman-philosopher and author of “The True Believer.” Hoffer had worked hard all his life on the docks of San Francisco and as a migrant farm laborer when younger. Moynihan wrote to him:

12/10/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Sometimes distance is our friend. When we press our noses up against the glass of our troubles, they seem immediate and overwhelming. But if we can take the eagle’s-eye view, or the perspective of time, we often find that what preoccupies us now is fleeting.