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Editorial & Opinion | Musings

08/27/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

The Torah tells us that Noah was a “tzaddik b’dorotav” — righteous in his generation — and our sages note that the word for “generation” is really plural. One interpretation is that righteousness is lasting, affecting those alive in the age of the righteous individual and those who live after.

08/20/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

How to get a family to sit down for a Shabbat dinner? I used to wonder how my parents did it. They didn’t use threats or coercion. One day I ran across a passage in Patrick O’Brien’s “Master and Commander,” his first novel of the British navy, that explained it to me:

“A commander is obeyed by his officers because he is himself obeying; the thing is not in essence personal; and so down. If he does not obey, the chain weakens.”

08/13/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Several stories in the Torah pivot on ordinary characters. Joseph seeks his brothers and “a man from Dothan” points the way, thus furthering the course of history. The spies in Joshua’s time are hidden by Rahab, thus ensuring they return safely.

08/06/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

‘Dear God, open my lips and my mouth will offer your praises.”

This is one of many prayers that asks for God’s help in expression. Words are often inadequate to the fullness of our feeling. In a famous passage Flaubert writes of Madame Bovary, whose speech is pedestrian but whose feelings overflow: “Human speech is like a cracked tin kettle, on which we hammer out tunes to make bears dance when we long to move the stars.”

07/30/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Wise words for our celebrity-saturated culture from historian Daniel Boorstin, from his book “The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America”:

07/23/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Wise words for our celebrity-saturated culture from historian Daniel Boorstin, from his book “The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America”: