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Editorial & Opinion | Musings

05/27/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

When you are successful the world is at your feet. But what about when you fall?

The boxer Willie Pep made perhaps the most pointed observation on people’s tendency to desert: “The first things to go are your legs. Then it’s your reflexes. And then it’s your friends.”

05/20/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

The Psalmist tells us that he will solve a riddle with his harp (Psalm 49:5). What sort of riddle can be solved with a harp?

05/13/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

When Jacob wrestles with the angel until sunrise, the angel tells Jacob to release him as the dawn breaks. Jacob insists on a blessing. The angel asks Jacob his name, and then tells him he is no longer Jacob, but Israel [Genesis 32:25-33].

05/06/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

A famous philosophical principle comes to us from Immanuel Kant: “ought implies can.” In other words, you cannot suggest that someone ought to do something unless in fact, they can do it. This same principle is expressed by the Rabbis when they state that one is not allowed to make a rule that the community cannot abide.

04/29/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav once told of a prince who suffered from delusions and thought he was a turkey. A wise man cured him by emulating his behavior: Crawling under the table, pecking at his food and behaving just like a turkey. Gradually, he began to ask the prince — “Can’t a turkey wear a shirt?” And, “Can’t a turkey eat with utensils?” In that way the wise man gradually brought the prince back to acknowledging his humanity.

04/22/2015 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Readers of the Gilgamesh epic are often struck by its similarity to the Bible story. There is a man created from earth who loses paradise, who accepts food from a woman, who is clothed after nakedness, a massive flood, a perfidious snake and much more. Gilgamesh tells of a quest for immortality, and in that quest we see an important distinction.