“Needs are looked upon today as if they were holy, as if they contained the totality of existence. Needs are our gods, and we toil and spare no effort to gratify them. Suppression of a desire is considered a sacrilege that must inevitably avenge itself in the form of some mental disorder.”

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
Insecurity of Freedom

Rendering unto Caesar More Than What is Caesar’s

The French Revolution inculcated a fear and suspicion of religious authority as a threat to secular Enlightenment power. It’s true that when the dust settled under Napoleon’s feet, there had been at least a façade of reconciliation for the purposes of putting the country back together. But it was only really a façade. And a Napoleonic power structure sowed the seeds of its own undoing. French society remains unnerved by strangers among them, as well as anyone they believe answers to a higher authority than the state. The French government can talk all it wants about appreciating its Jews, but unless and until those Jews feel comfortable and safe actually showing outward signs of their Judaism and religiosity, it won’t change minds. A Frenchman who happens to be a Jew at home cannot be the only Jew who feels at home in France.

via How Not to Fight Anti-Semitism in France
Seth Mandel
Commentary Magazine
14 January 2015

A Blessing for an Artist Who Touched Us

A few months ago, Sunny, Aaron, and I were at Factor’s Famous Deli in Los Angeles for lunch. We were early, the place was pretty quiet, but we stepped aside in silence as Leonard Nimoy, looking tired but healthy, walked past us with his wife and out of the restaurant.

Aaron could not stop talking about it, and we talked about how Mr. Nimoy, beyond changing so many of our lives with his portrayal of a beloved television and film character, had dedicated so much of his offscreen life to quietly supporting the work of other artists.

No, he did not cure cancer, end warfare, invent the personal computer, or create string theory. But if there is a lesson to be learned from Leonard Nimoy, it is that each of us, whatever our gifts, have the wherewithal to make life on this planet a little better.

“When you let me take, I’m grateful. When you let me give, I’m blessed.”
— Leonard Simon Nimoy, 1931-2015


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