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?

Not Yet Time for Vegetarianism

“[Rav Kook wrote that] the mitzvot light the way to the perfection of the future – a time when the animals will have been transformed into humans, and humans into angels. Thus kashrut is mean to prepare us for vegetarianism, a great step forward in the moral perfection of the human race – but must not be done before its time, for the complacency and self-satisfaction it might bring. Indeed, he wrote, one could imagine a bloodthirsty tyrant who prided himself on his vegetarianism, eerily presaging Hitler.”

Yehudah Mirsky

Leap of Faith

To me, there can be no greater leap of faith than the assumption by scientific fundamentalists that if something cannot be observed by human faculties (even mechanically enhanced) or understood by the human intellect, it simply cannot exist.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.

– Hamlet (1.5.167-8)

Science is Becoming a Religion

Those of you who do not yet see science drifting inexorably into the realm of religion need to clear their minds of prejudice and read this brilliant essay (“Hawking contra Philosophy“) by Christopher Norris in Philosophy Now.

Norris takes on Stephen Hawking’s recent writings in particular, but in so doing points up a growing – and disturbing – tendency for science to become as much about credo as it is ego obseruo.

Afraid to be Right

But such confidence is not to our liking anymore. We believe that truth is a form of hegemony. We suspect that pluralism may require perspectivism, or at least a denial of the possibility of objectivity. We wish to be right without anybody else being wrong. We prefer questions. And we like commentaries to be comments.

Leon Weiseltier
“Comes the Comer”
The Jewish Review of Books

Has our desire to avoid hurting people’s feelings made us afraid to be right, afraid to assert our convictions in the face of what we know to be wrong? And if we are, what does that make us?

Two Good Things from Religion

If you are a grateful graduate of Oxford University or Yale University, even if you are an atheist, thank G-d before you thank the alumni and teachers. Because if it were not for G-d and the faiths that worship him, your alma mater would not exist.

Have a nice 4th of July weekend, and a Good Shabbos

Inspired by Sean Maloney

Sean Maloney, Executive Vice President of Inte...

Sean Maloney in 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though not what one might term a “Jewish Scholar,” Sean Maloney is a remarkable man. Leaving aside his meteoric career with Intel, he has also survived – and recovered from – a catastrophic stroke that pulled the plug on a large part of his left frontal lobe.

He offers three lessons that ring so Talmudic that they should be offered here:

  1. Pick the one thing that has the biggest impact. Don’t squander a minute.
  2. Fight for what you believe in. Never stop listening.
  3. Laugh, because you don’t know how long it is going to last.

I cannot imagine Akiva or Hillel (or even Shammai) arguing with any of those.

Virtue and Knowledge

Contrary to postmodern relativists, the growth of human knowledge is a fact. But that fact does not make human beings any more likely to be virtuous, or rational. However fast and far science may advance the dilemmas that beset us, ethics will remain as problematic as before. Indeed, since the increase in knowledge enlarges the power to do evil, these dilemmas may be more formidable.

John Gray | Review: Mr. Brooks’s Miracle Elixir | The National Interest.

Beyond Reason

Sometimes, in the very process of reasoning, we lose sight of the need for a destination, for finding the way out of the labyrinth to solid ground that stands the test not of a few weeks, months, or even a year or two, but of the vastness of the judgement of history.

Tony Blair
A Journey: My Political Life