Indeed, there is a Jewish custom to begin the religious education of a child not with the story of creation, the story of the Exodus, or the grand sweep of Moses’ summation—but with Leviticus. Why? As with so much else, there are multiple interpretations—each of which can be true.
This year’s Passover Seder will be celebrated on March 27, and we should take time to discover the opportunities that are open to us spiritually and the opportunities we have to improve the world. The Haggadah—the greatest hits of Jewish thought—exists to guide us through that divine journey.
The prerequisite to understanding any story is answering the question: What is its genre? This might seem like an easy task, but it’s really not. Let’s say that someone gets offended by a joke. The jokester says that he was just trying to be funny. The listener says that the jokester was really making social commentary.
God could have created the world using any technique and done so instantaneously. Instead, He chose to do so with a succession of expressions, each beginning with “God said.” We are all familiar with the Ten Commandments, but the correct translation is: Ten Words. God’s words are demonstrably powerful and intentional.
The person wearing the uniform also feels an enhanced sense of responsibility, as he knows he is literally embodying the values that his or her uniform conveys. And this feeling, though generated by the clothing one puts on, becomes deeply felt.
This art of making distinctions also informs Jewish biblical politics, with resonance into the present day. For instance, take a general question: How should we regard the stranger in our midst? It entirely depends, as Parshat Mishpatim says, upon the distinctions we must make.
One of the most important concepts in finance is “reversion to the mean.” Core to everything from options pricing to stock valuation, this concept incorporates the belief that prices will revert to the place where they mostly have been. If a stock is trading at significantly below its historic price-to-earnings ratio…
It is a cliché to say “there is no such thing as a bad question.” But, unlike most clichés, this one is not true. There are some bad questions. One is: “Is he religious?” There are several reasons why this is a bad question. One is that it is imprecise.