Torah Study and Worldly Occupation

This week 2 is the third cycle of Pirkei Avos. In the second mishna of the third perek it says:

Rabban Gamliel the son of Rabbi Yehuda the Prince said, Torah study is good with a worldly occupation, because the exertion put into both of them makes one forget sin. All Torah without work will ultimately result in desolation and will cause sinfulness.

All who work for the community should work for the sake of Heaven, for the merit of the community’s forefathers will help them, and their righteousness endures forever. And as for you, God will reward you greatly as if you accomplished it on your own.

Commentary from Rabbi Goldson from this post on Aish:

Rabban Gamliel first taught that, even though there is no higher calling than Torah study, Torah will come to nothing unless it is channeled into positive action. We might think, therefore, that we must sacrifice some Torah in order to preserve the rest.

At the end of the Mishna, Rabban Gamliel assures us that directing Torah into positive action is the highest expression of Torah itself, whether that action takes the form of professional occupation or of extending oneself to benefit the community. There is no loss. Just the opposite: by taking time away from Torah to ensure the preservation of Torah values and ideals, we receive credit as if we had immersed ourselves in Torah without interruption. By taking time away from Torah study is in order to put Torah ideals into practice, then our reward will continue to multiply over and over again.

Achdus in the Midst of Tragedy

Everyone’s minds and hearts are still with the Kletsky family. How can one absorb such a terrible, brutal and senseless crime commited by another member of our community?

How could G-d let a thing like this happen to a young innocent child?

That is a question that we cannot deign to answer but what be important is to consider not one crazed murderer but the thousands of Jews from Boro Park and beyond who turned out to search for Leiby and the thousands more in hidden corners of the globe quietly shedding tears over their tehillim books.

The story reminds me of a story Rabbi Eliezer Silver witnessed shortly after the concentration camps were liberated in 1945. It seems that there was a Jew who had a pair of tefillin and he made a neat profit charging his fellow survivors to use the tefillin to daven with. “How awful, “said one of the survivors. “A Jew charging his fellow Jews to put on tefillin. “Yes,” said Rav Silver but don’t think of the Jew who is charging, think of the dozens of others who are prepared to pay the price.

And so it should be with us. The Boro Park community showed all of New York City and in fact the entire world the depth of our caring. In a city where murder is commonplace we showed the world that we the Jews still place ultimate value on one Jewish life and that is a Kiddush Hashem of the Highest Order.

We have much reason to be proud.

Redefining the Weekend

One of the major things that Israel unique is a rather unexpected one — the weekend, or lack thereof. The standard Israeli work week is from Sunday to Thursday, and some offices, as well as schools, have abridged hours on Friday, too. This means that a day of rest is pretty much limited to its Torah origins — Shabbat.

There is a movement underway and recently backed by Prime Minister Netatnyahu to reduce the work week to four days plus a half day on Friday. The idea is to get Israel will be in sync with other “developed” countries, which don’t work on Sundays, while being sensitive to those who observe Shabbat. I’m uncertain that this will be feasible for every industry and long-distance commuters, but it sure sounds nice. Sometimes I feel that one of the biggest sacrifices I’ve made by making aliyah is giving up my Sundays — the day for brunch, picnics, hikes, and sleeping in.

Though working Sunday through Thursday produces the same number of hours of work and rest as the traditional Monday through Friday schedule, the result is not the same. With Shabbat just hours away, especially in the winter, Friday becomes a day of chores and preparing for Shabbat for many families. Stores close early and buses stop running hours before Shabbat, so day trips for folks like me without cars are limited. And when Shabbat ends, it’s back to work. There is something nice about making havdalah and then preparing for the work week, rather than facing another day off, but when we say “Hamavdil ben kodesh l’chol”, I sometimes think that I’d like to get a little bit more out of my chol.

In the United States, Sunday used to be the day for shopping, getting together with friends, and enjoying the outdoors. Of course these things can be done on a Friday or on Shabbat, but in a much more limited way. Fridays are crunched, and Shabbat is limited by melachot and the special nature of the day. One of the most difficult things for me initially when beginning to observe Shabbat was to pass on my Saturday hikes. Ironically, upon moving to Israel, I’ve had to pass on the Sunday ones too.

Ilene blogs at

21 Days of Ahavas Yisroel

There is a site called 21 days of Ahavas Yisroel which is a great idea for this time of year.

Here is the description (with permission) from their home page:

This time of year is traditionally one of mourning for the Jewish people. Starting on 17th of Tammuz (July 19) and culminating on the 9th of Av (August 9), this period commemorates the destruction of the second Temple and the end of the Jewish sovereignty some 2000 years ago.

Since that time we have lived in exile, moving from one country to another, often being openly despised and hated by our host nations. What was it that brought the nation of Israel to such a lowly state for so many centuries? Our sages tell us it was ‘Sinas Chinam,’ or senseless hatred, of one another.

What better reaction can we have than to make these days a time when we focus on acts of senseless love of all Jews, regardless of any difference we may have.

Each day during the Three Weeks we will post a different story of Ahavas Yisroel. The hope is that these stories will inspire us to to strengthen our own efforts in this area.

Send us your stories! Tell us any incident of how you succeeded in the mitzvah (good deed) of Ahavas Yisroel (loving Jews), no matter how small. Together, one small step at a time, we can change the world

Learning from Leiby’s Murder

Reprinted with permission from Rebbetzin Tzipora Heller’s Weekly Letter

Dear friends,

Many of you have heard of the cruel and brutal murder last week of Leiby Kletzky, a nine-year-old who was on his way home from his day camp in Brooklyn, alone for the first time, after pleading with his parents as only a nine-year-old can, to be able to be allowed to go home by himself like his pals. His mom was planning to meet him half way, but as you probably know, he never got there. He got lost, and the friendly stranger who offered to help him, and to give him a ride in his beige Honda, murdered him and dismembered his body.

At least three thousand people were involved in searching for Leiby. Amazing Savings, Glatt Mart, and other large stores provided food, space for an improvised headquarters, and whatever else was needed. The boy’s teacher involved his father, who initially thought the child would be found within a short time. When this proved tragically to not be the case, he went from store to store asking to see the surveillance films until he found the one that provided the police with the shot of the boy entering the car.

What do you do with a story like this?

Do you ignore it?

What was the murderer like? Why, how could a human do something so malicious? Of course there will be the knee-jerk response, “He must be mentally ill”. In other words, the proof that he isn’t accountable for his deed is that he did it. To me, for one, that doesn’t hold water. Neither of his two ex-wives thought of him as unaware of the consequences of his deeds, and in fact they were both shocked at what had occurred.

Would it have shocked Desmond Morris? Probably not. Back in 1994, he theorized that since 98% of our genes are almost identical to those of primates, that we are nothing (to use his words) more than “Naked Apes”.

We do indeed have dark places within the depths of what the Kabbalists call, “the animal soul”. That part of you is attuned only to attraction or rejection. You are attracted to whatever gives you pleasure. Food, sexually driven passions and every other form of immediate gratification is part of the package. You reject anything that threatens pain, punishment, or anything you see as toxic. Your fears, rages, and anger all stem from this drive. The refutation of Morris’ theory is that we have a spiritual soul as well. Hear how humans are described in Tehillim 8:

“What is man that you are mindful of him…Yet you have made him a little lower than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him ruler over the works of Your hand. You put everything under his feet.”

We can face the animal soul and redirect its energy and passion. One way in which this took place in earlier times was through the sacrifices offered in the Temple. The underlying concept is that you would look at the animal, feel its pulsing life force and say, “This is me”. The word that is used for domesticated animals that were offered is “bakkar”, which means cattle. It is linguistically related to the word “boker” which means morning. There is a reason that we talk about “dawn breaking”. It is an unstoppable force, much like animals mindlessly stampeding, breaking every barrier in their path.

You have to teach yourself to respect boundaries, and as a human you can. You can have a higher goal than the immediate gratification of the relentless demands of everything the beast demands. In this week’s parshah, Mattot, we find that Hashem told the Jews that they have to make war against the Midianites. This is because it was the Midianites who tried to redefine us in order to destroy us. As we found in last week’s parshah, they even used their own king’s daughter as bait in their attempts to seduce the Jewish men, an attempt that to a significant degree succeeded. “Their G-d hates promiscuity”, a nice civilized sounding word (it even has four syllables!) to describe the animal soul’s hallmark. Why would Hashem hate this or anything at all, for that matter? Love has demands! His love for us demands that we become something better than two legged animals. He believes in us far more than we believe in ourselves, and demands a minimum of honest self-discovery.

It is, of course, no coincidence that the fast of the 17th of Tammuz (July 19) takes place this week. It commemorates five terrible events that took place in our history.

1) The tablets of the law were broken when Moshe came down and saw the Jews debauched as they danced around the golden calf.

2) The walls around Jerusalem were breached.

3) The daily sacrifices had to be halted during the time of the first Temple (thus ending the possibility of collective spiritual recommitment to move beyond the animal self).

4) The Torah scrolls were burned.

5) An idol was placed in the sanctuary.

These events are more than history. They are the story of our present battle. Do you want the Law, or the calf? Do you want structure or inner anarchy in your private Jerusalem? Do you want to worship G-d or your fantasies?

The sages tell us that examining our deeds is even more important than taming the beast by fasting. They tell us, in fact, to examine our own deeds and those of your ancestors. Go back over your family’s spiritual history, not with the end goal of judging them, since you didn’t stand in their shoes, but with the goal of moving beyond their errors and not perpetuating their mistakes. I sometimes wonder how things would have worked out in my own family, if my grandfather would have really grasped that without Torah learning the heritage that he sincerely wanted to pass on would evaporate in two generations.

Love, and hope that next letter brings better news with it,

Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly accurately described it as, “Every parent’s worst nightmare.”

Nine-year-old Leiby Kletzky of Boro Park, Brooklyn finally convinced his mother that he was old enough to walk home alone from day camp. It was only seven short blocks to their home, and she had gone over the route with him beforehand to make sure.

Only he never made it home Monday evening.

His family called the police when he didn’t arrive home. Literally thousands of volunteers combed every inch of the blocks between his home and the day camp.

The break came when Leiby was spotted on a surveillance video, talking to a man outside a dentist’s office. It seems that Leiby had made a wrong turn on his way home and asked for directions. Then Leiby got into the man’s car, a Honda sedan.

The dental office was already closed for the night, but determined police detective work helped them track down both the dentist, who didn’t live in New York, and his receptionist. They went into the office and examined the dentist’s patient records.

The search ended in the early hours of Wednesday morning at an attic apartment not far from the boy’s home. The person of interest made a full confession to the police, including information about where the boy’s body could be found.

He confessed that he had killed the boy.

Other than a minor offense, he had no prior arrest record, no accusations or allegations against him. There were no hints. No one could have known in advance that he would commit a crime like that.

We live in a dangerous world. Even in a tight-knit community, children can get badly hurt.

How do we protect our children? We can’t keep them in a bubble forever. Keeping them in a bubble would be even more dangerous, because once out of the bubble they wouldn’t know how to stay safe.

The only solution that works is to drill children in an age-appropriate manner never to talk to strangers, never ever to get into anyone’s car, to not allow themselves to be snatched up, to not go inside anyone’s house, even someone who speaks Yiddish or Ivrit or Russki or looks Chassidishe or is wearing a yarmulke or long payos “just like them.”

It also has been suggested that a child in trouble can be told to “trust a mother,” that is, if the child sees a mom with a stroller and/or young children of her own, that the child can ask the mom for help (but not a strange adult without children).

Jewish mothers have been accused of being overprotective. But when are we not being protective enough? Every concerned parent has to find this balance between watching over a child and allowing a child independence. When is a child old enough to walk by himself/herself to a friend’s house? To cross the street alone? To babysit for a neighbor’s child? To stay home alone one night? To ride the city bus or the subway? To walk home from the park, or from school, or from day camp? To walk with a group of other young people home from shul or from a Shalom Zachor late on a Friday night?

We can’t lace our children into armor or insert electronic tracking chips into their shoulders. We can try to arm our children with common sense and a sense of self-protection, to yell or run away, to not allow anyone to touch them in the wrong place, even someone they know, to tell their parents anytime they feel afraid or when told to “keep a secret.”

Regrettably, there are those of our own, those who look like Orthodox Jews and dress like Orthodox Jews and talk like Orthodox Jews, who can and do commit such crimes against children.

Hopefully the monster who did this will be locked up in prison for the rest of his life. It won’t bring back Leiby Kletzky, but will prevent any other children from being this person’s victims.

Can we prevent the next tragedy?

Jewish Power Lunch

This post was first posted on Healthy Jewish Cooking and the author’s BT story can be found here.

We’re told that if we eat the right foods, take the right supplements, eat at the right times (and with the right people), exercise, and so forth, we’ll see powerful changes in our lives.

The teachings of the Chassidic mystics, which can be simply defined as “applied Kabbala”, show us another food-related way to power-up. It seems that what we eat, while important, is less important than what our spiritual experience of eating actually is. In a way, eating is ¹prayer.

Likutey Tefilos is a collection of indelibly moving prayers on every topic–you can say the prayers as is, or use them as a springboard to your own personal prayers. It was written and complied by Reb Noson, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov’s primary student. Reb Noson was instructed by the Rebbe to take his ²teachings and turn them into prayers. He taught that knowledge accumulated without then applying it to one’s life and using it to strengthen one’s personal connection to the Creator, isn’t really knowledge at all.

It isn’t just Breslov Chassidus–Jewish wisdom across the sects and centuries has always insisted that one who is a scholar must be changed at his core by his scholarship–otherwise his scholarship is hollow, indeed.

In the introduction to prayer 47, in Volume 3 of the collection called The Fiftieth Gate (a translation of Likutey Tefilos published by the Breslov Research Institute), we read: “When a person eats only to satisfy his soul and not due to physical desires, G-d feeds him from the trait of truth. Then, when he praises G-d with the power that he derives from such eating, he speaks words of truth. Then this person can perform miracles.”

And: “If…a person is steeped in the desire for eating, G-d hides his countenance from him, and the person is far from truth.”

At the highest level are those who eat only in order to say the blessing over the food as well as because they must in order to live and serve G-d. That level is truth. The rest of us must start from “where we’re at”. Where we’re at can vary widely. Are we mindlessly pigging-out on entire bags of chips or containers of ice cream? Is there a reason that overeating and binging invokes the name of an unkosher animal rather than, say, the kosher goat, which also eats everything in sight?

Are we gourmets, constantly focus on creating and/or consuming tantalizing dishes whenever possible and not just in honor of Shabbos and the holy days? That was one of my weaknesses–I loved the process of creatively cooking and lovingly feeding people and, I admit, receiving praise for my efforts.

Are we rigid about the nutritional content and energetic balance of our foods, unable to bend at special occasions or when guests in people’s homes or unable to allow others to eat what they like?

For me, keeping the weekday meals simple, usually vegan, with the focus primarily on health, was a great place to start. I was first inspired to do this a few years ago when I heard someone say that “she couldn’t help it if she simply preferred the best of everything”. She insisted on travelling out of her way and mine to purchase an extremely expensive, hard-to-find chocolate (one with all the foodie bells and whistle). I don’t recall all the details but what springs to mind was that the chocolate had a delirium-inducing cacao percentage, was made with beans grown organically at the top of a mountain on a tropical island, hydrated by spring water hauled by hand up the mountain in golden buckets, then, when ripe, handpicked by poetry-spouting children under the age of seven, wrapped in handmade linen paper and flown business class directly to the Upper West side. Or something like that. I might be exaggerating a bit.

I had a horrifying shock of self-recognition, albeit I wasn’t that extreme or that extravagant. Seriously, anyone can spend their life cultivating and refining their tastes and strengthening their desires so that they constantly long for the rarest and the best. This does not a meaningful life make.

Yet, this has largely become America’s mainstream food culture. Think the Food Channel and designer kitchens that take two years to build. Think Chicago suburbanites who can easily tell you where the real foodies eat when in Sardinia, Madrid, or Taipei.

We’ve been Frenchified! The American Coasts (and places in between) are now rife with deadly earnest oeno-gastronomes who pepper everyday chat with terms like affineur, artisanal, and achiote.

This lurch towards Roman-empire scale food obsession (what next, ³vomitoria?), has had an effect on America’s sub-cultures, too. American Jews of all stripes from the most secular to the *Super-Orthodox have their share of gourmandising/gourmeting going on at a scale never-before seen. And not just at weddings and bar mitzvahs. Jewish magazines are packed with glossy food photos, recipes by Kosher-chef superstars, and glamorous table settings. There seems to be a food-style war going on between the two glossiest of these magazines.

For some reason, it’s easy to forget that Judaism is less a religion than a totally-encompassing life path. It’s easy to forget that how we approach eating is intricately bound with how we approach Judaism and and also tied in with what we understand our life-purpose to be.

In case that’s all a bit too heavy, here’s something light: my latest favorite hot-weather Jewish power lunch.

Jewish Power Lunch for 2

1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced

1 cup mixed sprouts (clover, broccoli, alfalfa is nice)

1 cup sprouted chickpeas (optional)

2 scallions, sliced

handful of sprouted or toasted pumpkin seeds or almonds

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro, parsley, mint

2 cups mixed lettuces

Juice of one lemon

Pinch of chipotle chile powder

1 teaspoon Bragg’s liquid aminos or your favorite soy sauce

Wash lettuce and scallions and check for insects. Toss all ingredients together in large bowl.

¹Prayer in the Jewish sense isn’t about pleading with G-d to give you what you desire. (Although that is sometimes part of prayer). The Hebrew word for prayer is tefilla which is related to the word for judgment, lehitpallel. Prayer is the time where, while conversing and connecting with G-d, you also reflect on (hence, judge) yourself.

²Each of these prayers can be used as part of a comprehensive applied study of one of the Rebbe’s lessons from his powerful magnum opus, Likutei Moharan.

³There probably were no such things as vomitoria at Roman banquets. Scholars say the vomitorium is most likely a myth.

*Super sounds so much nicer in these times than Ultra.

Expanding the Backyard

One of the things that initially excited me about find was that the website/community allows me to interact with fellow Jews who are growth-oriented and get advice from others. As a parent of a boy entering 6th grade, a daughter entering 4th grade, and a daughter entering kindergarten I am always looking for eitzos (advice) on parenting.

Growing up with parents who were both politically and religiously fairly Conservative/traditional I was, ironically, given pretty much free reign in terms of set rules in our home. Aside from the standard “let me know where you’ll be and who you’ll be with” my parents were not to strict when it came to what I read, watched on TV, style of clothing I wore, or what music I liked. Thus, growing up in the 1980s I ended up reading, watching, wearing, and listening to things that, for sure, would raise eyebrows within some Orthodox circles (and probably a red flag with the words “At-risk” printed on it).

We are blessed to live in a thriving frum community, with great chinuch options, and my children are surrounded by positive influences. So far, so good. However with the trend of those raised in observant homes keeping “half-Shabbos” (a term that describes teens and adults using their cell phones to text and go online with on Shabbos) and the constant danger of kids-at-risk rearing its’ not-so-attractive-head I, like most, am concerned about my own children.

Recently my wife had the opportunity to speak with a father of 7 who has, with much help from his wife, raised fairly “normal” frum kids. She asked him what their secret was, and he said simply that they let their kids have choices within defined parameters. When my wife told me this, I said that it’s sort of like making your backyard a little bigger so your kids feel that they have more room to play. For a few years, as I look back now, I’ve been doing this unconsciously.

There are always, in our family, issues like: the yarmulke vs the baseball cap (on top of the yarmulke), the skirt is “too long” vs “too short”, my friends watched parents rented this movie and why can’t we, etc. I think that most of us can make our own list. Now, my kids are far from perfect, but we have tried to raise them to know what’s expected of them. Overall, they are good kids. We attempt to be aware of what they watch, give them choices of what to wear (in the summer, when they are don’t have to wear school uniforms and follow dress codes), and let them think they have a little freedom about what they listen read and listen to (BH they don’t read or all of our tricks would be for naught).

I think, based on what the conversation my wife had, that we are going to take on a much more active role in structuring the choices we give our own children. Hopefully (with a lot of davening) they will find enough leg and elbow room within Torah Judaism to stretch out and get comfortable.

I’d love to hear any advice or thoughts about what seems to work and not work with raising kids.

Starting the Parsha Earlier In The Week

We know learning Torah is one of the most important activities we can do, yet there are probably many weeks when we don’t look at the Parsha till late in the week or on Shabbos.

We might use lack of time as our alibi, but we probably had time for some Internet reading or other non-essential activities.

It’s important for us to be very familiar with every Parsha and the prescription for that is Shnayim Mikra Ve-Echad Targum.

As we mentioned previously, there are prominent Poskim who hold you can fulfill the requirement by reading the Hebrew once during the week, reading the second time along with the laining on Shabbos and using an English translation such as Art Scroll for the Targum/translation component. If you’re not already accomplishing Shnayim Mikra weekly, then please try this method.

Rabbi Noson Weisz has a must read piece on this week’s parsha which gives a clear understanding on the different paths of spirituality for Jews and Non-Jews.

In a nutshell:
– Bilaam was the prophet for non-Jews who’s role is to teach non-Jews how to serve G-d.
– Bilaam knew the precise moment each day that G-d was anger which is the time when the Midas HaDin is strongest which results in G-d distancing Himself from the world.
– Moses was told not to connect to G-d when He was angry.
– The path of the Bilaam and the nations of the world is to serve G-d through the road of anger which results in withdrawal and self denial.
– The path of serving G-d for Jews is to connect to G-d via love which involves inserting spirituality and closeness to G-d in every aspect of everyday life through the mitzvos.
– Bilaam was the nation’s potential Moses but his unwillingness to accept the Jewish path of service as legitimate caused him to try and harm the Jews, ultimately bringing about the incident at Ba’al Peor.

Please take the time to read Rabbi Weisz article.

Declaration of Dependence

by Chaim G.

Today is Independence Day. Guess this is one of those quirky years when it coincides with July the 4th. It is a day when we grill the flesh of bovines in our backyards and our own epidermis’ on beaches. Somewhere, deep in the hidden strata of our collective societal subconscious, we also exult in breaking the shackles of tyrannical monarchy to enjoy the diverse blessings of liberty and democracy.

The eternal question though is; is it good for the Jews?

Hobbes wrote that “the sovereign ruler is by definition above the law” and Jean Bethke Elshtain’s added, “laws take the form of his untrammeled will.” Without a doubt this puts all of his/her subject as at a vulnerable disadvantage. Yet the absence of sovereign monarchs from the world stage puts us at a distinct disadvantage in terms of our relationships with HaShem. Lacking kings claiming “the Divine Right (to rule)” we are short of living breathing metaphors for the right of the Divine King. Every brakha containing the phrase Melekh HaOlam= King of the Universe, every Avinu Malkenu, rings hollow without any sense of the majesty, sovereignty and POWER of Princes.

All brakhos are phenomenological. While saying “Blessed are you HaShem, King of the Cosmos, who created the fruit of the vine” is always a true statement it’s a brakha l’vatala= a brakha in vain unless one is about to imbibe wine/ grape juice. Still, by and large, brakhos are opportunistic. We seldom find a halakha of striving to come in contact with a phenomenon that forces a brakha. The brakha pronounced over kings is a notable exception. The Gemara in Brakhos states that one should exert themselves to see kings, even gentile kings. Also IIRC this is the only brakha in which hearing the phenomenon is sufficient and seeing is not required. IMO the brakha over Kings is exceptional because it is so essential for us to forge an authentic relationship with HaShem.

It is striking that King James I claimed for himself the right “to exalt low things, and abase high things, and make of their subjects like men at the Chesse.” It resonates with our liturgy in describing HaShem as a “mashpil geyim and maggbihah shefalim”. It is also extremely apt because it implies that although, in theory, the absolute Monarch could make up the rules as he goes along, there is, in fact, a game with certain immutable rules that cannot be flouted. Try as he might a sovereign monarch playing chess cannot move his Rooks as he would his Bishops. This speaks to HaShem’s “willingness” to abide by the “limitations” of “midah k’neged midah”= quid pro quo, in dealing with His chess pieces. Re HaShem although “He make-uh da game, He play-uh by da rules”

And while Adam Kirsch wrote in a recent NY Sun Review of Ms. Bethke Elshtain’s book Sovereignty: God, State, and Self that “natural law, history shows, has an unsettling malleability: It tends to become an honorific for prejudice and custom” the current era of the sovereign self, the logical conclusion of the French revolution and July 4th 1776, has culminated in “a self conceived in terms of total autonomy and absolute will — … a monster of egotism.”, in Ms. Elshtain’s view and the expressions of this egotism include radical feminism, sexual license, abortion rights, eugenics, stem cell research, and cloning.

So here’s my dilemma: While a Merciful Providence micromanaging history replaced monarchies with parliamentary democracies and directed a large chunk of His nearly shattered people to these shores in the years following the Holocaust, shores where we breathe free and enjoy religious liberty unprecedented in our long and bitter Galus=Diaspora, did He do so at the expense of His own “prestige” and, concomitantly, at the expense of our own ability to relate to Him in a real and authentic way? To wax metaphoric, did He “raise us on the wings of eagles” and take the hunters arrows for us yet again? And in so doing are the eaglets and chicks now orphans with warped views of their own Parent?

The article that inspired this post is here. Click on the link and read this provocative review. It alone is worth the price of admission!

First Published 7/2008