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Editorial & Opinion | Musings

04/30/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Why does God command Abraham to sacrifice his son, only to countermand the command at the last moment?

04/23/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

Each Shabbat evening we turn toward the door during “Lecha Dodi” to greet the “Sabbath Bride.” This tradition harkens back to the hills of 16th-century Safed and reminds us that Judaism cherishes what we cannot see.

04/16/2012 - 20:00 | | Musings

The Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas talks about the “meaningful world into which the face of the Other has introduced me.” For Levinas, our ethics are a result of appreciating the existence of another human being, a human face, before us. By ignoring others we shirk our abiding responsibility.

04/09/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

We are surrounded by certainty. After a lifetime of finding out how wrong I can be about things I used to be sure of — including myself — I am amazed by the tub-thumping certainty of people around me. From politicians to pundits to preachers to — well, everyone — people seem incapable of entertaining the possibility they may be wrong. No wonder the Talmud tells us, “Teach your tongue to say ‘I don’t know.’”

04/02/2012 - 20:00 | | Musings


Recently I read an article citing studies that the more power one attains inside an organization, the less empathetic one becomes to those who have less power. Power, in other words, dulls our compassion. So permit me to slightly reframe a message I wrote about Passover several years ago: This Passover, don’t only imagine yourself a slave — imagine yourself an Egyptian.

03/26/2012 - 20:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Musings

I know of many descriptions of the Jewish people: talented, beleaguered, stiff-necked, enduring — but rarely “joyous.” Most people don’t say — “Jews, now there is a happy people!” Our holidays reinforce this. On Pesach we celebrate leaving slavery — to go to a desert. On Purim we rejoice because we were not killed. Not exactly gleeful.