Editorial & Opinion | Musings

01/22/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

The Book of Job is sunk in sorrow. It tells the troubling story of a man tested by every misfortune, including the egregious speeches of his friends, who manages nonetheless to keep faith. Job refuses to turn away from the God who has turned away from him.

01/15/2014 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Our ideas of God are expressed through metaphors. Since we cannot begin to know what God is, we try to imagine what God is like — a King, a rock, a father, a fortress, a protector. As we expand our images so we expand our conception of God.

12/31/2013 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Moses, we all know, had a speech impediment. Or did he?

12/24/2013 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

When the Torah reading is completed in most synagogues, the scroll is held aloft and the congregation chants, “This is the Torah that Moses placed before the children of Israel” (Deuteronomy 4:44). Ashkenazim add “at the Lord’s bidding through Moses” (Numbers 9:23). In Sephardic synagogues, the scroll is generally raised before, not after, the reading.

12/18/2013 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

The mystics speak of tzimtzum, withdrawal or contraction. God, who fills all, contracts into God’s self to allow space for the world to be created. Tzimtzum is a concept in theological physics, teaching what it means to limit oneself to enable creation.

12/11/2013 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

The law of life is limitation. Our world is infinitely rich but our lives are not endless, so we have to decide what to cherish, what to discard, what to bypass, what to hold close. You can devote your life to a person, a cause, a craft, a quest, an institution, a dream, but you cannot do all at once. As Job says, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” (Job 7:6).

One way to judge priorities is to fast-forward: at the end of life, what would you be proud to have done? Writing a premature eulogy that turns into a life agenda is a useful exercise.