Permission

I believe that G-d wants us to find the joy in wonder in every moment of our lives.

Might it be that the more we give ourselves permission to be in that state of joy and wonderment, the closer we will be to Hashem?

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Ch-ch-ch-choices

(U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

There are countless points during a man’s life when he is compelled to choose between doing what is right for himself and what is right for others – family, friends, the people you love, your community, your country, and sometimes complete strangers. The correct choice, almost without exception, is to choose what is right for others.

Almost without exception.

R. Hillel famously wrote “if I am not for myself who will be for me. And if I am only for myself, what am I?”

The essence of wisdom is being able to recognize the exception and knowing without a doubt that the choice for oneself is not glandular or rationalized, but true to a code that transcends both our petty desires and our ability to manipulate them.

The Kosher Cheeseburger

Rabbi Shai Cherry notes in his lectures that th prohibition against mixing meat and milk only applies to Kosher meat.

Of course, that does not mean that cheeseburgers are back on the menu for observant Jews: after all, we’re not supposed to be eating non-Kosher meat in the first place.

 

Criticize Well

If you are one of those people who is preternaturally compelled to criticize faiths and the faithful, that is your right (in America, anyway).

If you want your critique to be taken seriously, however, try focusing on one faith at a time. Indiscriminately lumping all religions together and then opening fire is lazy, imprecise, often wrong, and readily dismissed by anyone who does not already agree with you.

We all may look the same to you, and there are always similarities. But if the differences are important enough to keep us in our separate houses, they are important enough for you to understand before you join the conversation.

R.I.P. Philip Roth

Portnoy’s Complaint was a revelatory book for me, not only a point of literary connection to Jews living far away, but also a comforting reassurance that I was not the only one dealing with very deep issues fitting into gentile society.

I have two other volumes of Roth’s work on by shelf, and I have yet to read it. I will get to it all eventually, but the great Tosafists must come first.

Goodnight, Mr. Portnoy. And thank you.