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Editorial & Opinion | Musings

02/24/2016 - 10:30 | | Musings

In Judaism, learning is part of piety. While the ideal of the simple, righteous person exists in Judaism, far more common is the person whose reverence flows from erudition. A Talmid chacham, a learned individual, is also assumed to be a good person. 

02/18/2016 - 12:25 | | Musings

If you serve God in the same fashion as you did yesterday, it is regression, taught the chasidic master, the “Yehudi” (Jacob Isaac ben Asher.) “For a person is always in the aspect of becoming, and not standing.”

02/10/2016 - 09:33 | | Musings

The first chapter in the Bible in which God’s name does not appear is the 23rd chapter of Genesis. The chapter recounts the deal that Abraham strikes with Ephron to buy Me’arat ha-Machpela, the land on which Sarah and Abraham and their descendants will be buried.

02/03/2016 - 09:11 | | Musings

Our sages speak of both love of God and fear of God. Fear is more akin to awe. Think of the way people respond in a movie when they first see Godzilla or an alien: They are paralyzed for a moment with amazement that such a thing exists. Similarly, we should have a sense of awe, wonderment tinged by being overwhelmed, at the reality of God’s presence.

01/27/2016 - 09:06 | | Musings

As the Israelites prepare to leave Egypt, Moses remembers the promise to carry Joseph’s bones to the land of Israel [Exodus 13:9). The Rabbis note Joseph’s original double phrasing to his family: “Hashbeah Hishbiah” — “you shall surely promise” — because the promise is to be carried down through the generations.

01/19/2016 - 22:08 | | Musings

‘You shall arise as a lion each morning to do the will of your Creator.” That stirring sentence opens the Shulchan Aruch, the Jewish code of law. It reminds us that at the heart of the Jewish tradition is the conviction that there are things worth fighting for.