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Jewish Thought

GREAT ISSUES. PERSONAL MOTIVES 6/11/2019 12:05 PM

I rarely if ever write about politics per se. All politics is messy and borders upon reviewing the worst instincts that exist within human behavior. I am not interested in washing dirty linen in public, and though I believe in democracy and its institutions and procedures, I am oftentimes unable to reconcile myself to the manner in which democratic elections or the legislative and executive...

AIR CONDITIONING 6/2/2019 06:04 AM

There is no doubt in my mind that one of the major technological improvements that we benefit from in our modern world is air-conditioning. There are great areas of the world that were previously almost uninhabitable because of the heat of their climate but that today are thriving large cities simply because the homes, offices, factories and automobiles operating in those high heat areas are now...

GOLDEN SILENCE 5/26/2019 11:25 AM

I have often written in the past about the inestimable value of the virtue of silence. The Talmud in its eternal wisdom values silence as being twice the worth of even the wisest of speech. Now I realize that I myself am violating this sublime rule by writing, which is a form of speech. But then I feel that the subject is worthy of note and reinforcement and more than necessary in our current...

STYLES AND FASHIONS 5/19/2019 11:07 AM

Though the holiday of Purim is long behind us in the calendar year it made an indelible impression upon me and taught me a lesson that I am reminded of even now. In our synagogue on Purim the congregants were dressed up in various costumes and headgear. Some of our old military veterans wore their military uniforms that, amazingly enough, still fit. Other people had outlandish costumes ranging...

LOCKSMITHS 5/5/2019 12:46 PM

There is currently an advertising campaign broadcasting on Israeli radio and other media trying to induce listeners and readers to consider choosing to become a locksmith as a profession. Radio commercials state that there are over 3 million requests for locksmiths annually in Israel, to solve the inevitable problems that come with having locks and safes and there are less than 300 certified...

THE PASSING SCENE 3/31/2019 10:49 AM

I have very wonderful friends who are kind enough to pick me up in their automobiles and drive me to the synagogue during the week. They are very punctual and the time that is set for pick up is almost always exactly observed. Because of this, I go down to the corner of my street and wait there at least 10 minutes before the appointed time because I enjoy the scene which is never the same and...

OUR MIRACLE MINYAN 3/10/2019 11:31 AM

It is now close to ten months since our congregation initiated a second morning prayer service to begin at 7:45 AM. The main morning prayer service was and is at 6:45 AM. This early time proved very inconvenient to me and to a few others and hence the synagogue graciously allowed for a second morning prayer service later in the morning to accommodate us. Over the time that this second prayer...

WEIGHTY MATTERS 3/3/2019 10:17 AM

Some time ago I was standing in a long line before the check-in counter at an airport in the United States. There was quite a delay in reaching that counter because a young woman was having a great difficulty because her suitcase was overweight. The airlines are very strict in enforcing weight limits on luggage, especially because charging for luggage and overcharging for overweight luggage has...

MORNING NOISES 2/24/2019 06:30 AM

For six days a week here in my neighborhood in Jerusalem it is impossible for one to reasonably expect to sleep late in the morning. I usually rise at about 6 AM and I am awakened by all sorts of sounds from the outside world that drift into my bedroom. First, the birds start chirping away loudly and persistently well before the actual sunrise. In my neighborhood there are several woodpeckers...

UNFINISHED BUSINESS 2/17/2019 06:51 AM

I have often been perplexed by the statement of the rabbis in Avot that says: “It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, “ as there is another statement of the rabbis of the Talmud that if one begins to do a good deed, one should persevere to complete it. So, what should our attitude towards unfinished business be? And should a project or endeavor be started when it may be clear...