Blog

General Topics

Saints or Sinners

For those of us who take our Bible seriously, the narratives of Genesis are meant to be moral pointers to correct human behavior. If so, then it is very difficult to explain why our great forefathers did certain things. Or should I phrase it this way–Why did the Torah not edit out those uncomfortable incidents, if, as the Talmud in…

Continue Reading

General Topics

Torture

There is no word in the Bible that means “torture” the way we use it nowadays. Modern Hebrew uses the word “inui”. But that is used in the Bible to describe what we do to ourselves when we fast on Yom Kippur. Hardly a defiance of the Geneva Convention, unless being deprived of a Krispy Kreme is torture! It is…

Continue Reading

General Topics

On Being Nice

Here’s a heretical thought. Avraham could afford to be nice to people because he didn’t have to live in a typical Jewish community. Don’t kill me. Jewish communities are probably no better or worse than most other communities. They all like to impose their own conventions, have their expectations and feel uncomfortable with those people who do not exactly fit…

Continue Reading

General Topics

Mourning

This week I had three Houses of Mourning to attend. There was a sad symmetry to the three shivas. One was for a ninety-year-old man. The second was for a middle-aged woman who died of cancer. The third was for a young man, whose life was tragically cut short, to the incredible pain of his parents and siblings. For the…

Continue Reading

General Topics

Ushpizin

The current “hot favorite” Israeli film is called Ushpizin. Ushpizin is an Aramaic word for “guest” and the verb means “to host”. The film is made and acted by two formerly secular actors, now married and converted to religion in a very serious way. The plot is about a childless couple of “returnees” to religion who have adopted the Bratslav…

Continue Reading

General Topics

Creation

As we return to reading the Biblical story of creation, the battle over what should be taught in American schools rages on. According to The Washington Post, George Bush wants school science classes to teach Intelligent Design as an alternative to Darwinian or neo-Darwinian evolution. He said: “Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can…

Continue Reading