"...Precisely because I so cherish my certainties, I try to cultivate the spiritual practice of not grasping for them. There is value in not-knowing, and in being open to possibility. That kind of openness takes practice. A muscle that’s never used can atrophy. The same is true of our spiritual muscles, too. We need to use them regularly in order to keep them supple and responsive. And that includes the spiritual “muscle” of opening the heart to not-knowing.
"It is totally human to feel righteous indignation and even justified anger. And unless we were born as saints of some kind, anger is a very real part of our lives. We have probably been told, with some emphatic feeling: ‘Don't be so angry!’ – a suggestion to which we may have replied, maybe with full blown fury, that we are not angry, damn it!..."
"Do you believe in the notion of ‘pure evil’? I am not asking because yesterday was Israel's Holocaust Remembrance day, but it is especially interesting to raise the question today, as those are the kinds of words often used when describing Nazis in general, and Hitler in particular.
Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, author of “You Don't Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right” and President of CLAL and TheWisdomDaily.com; and Adam Thompson — Senior Partner at the Law Offices of Adam M.
"...The show of God's force via epic calamities had been to convince Pharaoh to release the Jews from slavery. The plagues intensified along with Pharaoh's stubbornness, until they became so extreme he had no choice but to relent and let the Jews go. While not nearly as horrifying as an infestation of locusts, turning water into blood or the death of livestock and humans, my sampling of plagues tormented me: Redness. Unbearable Itchiness. Inflammation. Scaliness. Peeling. Puffiness. Splotchiness.
"...At some point our friendship starts to feel a lot more like therapy – at a firing range. We have sessions. They're clinical somehow, predictable. The hierarchy is clear. The scenario is presented: you bring the problem, I bring the solution. It's the same solution I've offered before, this time with added details that I fire off like rounds of ammunition. Every progressive story or emotion shared confirms my worldview, and I re-load. Shot down, you desist; we hug, say goodbye. Nothing solved.
"...The observance of Yom Hashoah becomes more difficult with each passing year as the number of survivors dwindles. With each passing year, we draw closer to the challenge of how to commemorate the Holocaust when it no longer is the history of those who can tell their own stories but rather the history of those who can only share the stories of others. We, the surviving remnant, will be left with how to continue this narrative.
"...LA Times writer, John Cherwa, raised the question of whether or not the horses even know they are racing, and what if any pleasure they get from winning, or sadness they experience if they don't. Not surprisingly, plenty of people close to the racing animals ascribed all sorts of awareness to the horses but the science certainly doesn't back them up. And that is where the parallels with humans really hit me...."
"...It is a tough job, the rabbi thing. As are many jobs. Never feeling that you're completely worthy doesn't let you relax, but then, in many professions, relaxing does mean that you're not doing it as well as you could be. I've heard that arrogance and overconfidence is necessary for fighter pilots who have to land planes on aircraft carriers, because that is so hard to do that no one who has a regular level of confidence would believe they could do it.
"...There is much that we can do to make the work that Jewish mothers, and indeed all mothers, do a little more possible. One way we can show our support for mothers in the paid workforce is to provide paid family leave. This past year more than 100 Jewish groups committed to doing so, bringing their policies into alignment with their Jewish values. But this step, by no means comprehensive even in the Jewish community, a long time in coming, took a great deal of convincing...."