Even Reb Tevye the Milkman understood that the oft-quoted "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" (Parashat Mishpatim, verses 22-27) could not be understood at face value lest we awaken one morning to a world in dire need of both ophthalmic and dental surgeons.
Its simplistic reciprocal brutality appeals to the remnant of "baseball bat justice" that probably played a prominent role in an evolving formative process, one that eventually bore our most fundamental sense of a distinction between "right" and "wrong" over the long path of humankind's history.
Have you ever heard some of our coreligionists rant and rave whenever the name of Charles Darwin is mentioned? He is frowned upon because critics, in some religious circles, assume his theory of evolution to be anti-G-d.
Whether he was in his day, frankly, I do not not know. I suspect, however, that the incomprehensible vastness of his studies, like that of Einstein's, caused him to at least wonder: “Okay, where do we go from here?”
Ever Hear of the Scopes Monkey Trial?
"I ain't no descendant of no #%^* monkey," I have heard some say, impressed as I am by the brevity of their reviews of Mr. Darwin's magnus opus, On The Origin of Species, though I must fault them on their lack of content development. There comes a point, I suppose, when brevity becomes too brief.
Original Intent & Second Amendment
Proponents on both sides of the constitutional conundrum of "original intent" claim to be on the same side of the aisle as the "Founding Fathers".
I'd advise you to always keep your distance from such self-appointed guardians of the(ir) truth.You see the problem with any extreme is its long distance from center. Too far to hear and much too far away to listen, they begin to shout and shout and …
'Fare thee well "civil discourse'". The very notion of civil discourse is antithetical to them who shout. Welcome to the tyranny of the loud-mouthed.
Imagine being able to understand the issues of the day better than even its key players, better able to plumb the intellectual depths of the Constitutional Convention or any of its leaders, an Alexander Hamilton or a James Madison, better than they understood themselves.
A remarkable thing, isn't it?
That anyone would claim such power of insight and the chutzpah to pass it off as if it were an unimpeachable fact.
A point in time had certainly not yet been reached, in our young nation’s history, when an armed and uniformed military force, answerable only to a central government, took over the responsibility of defending our shores against our enemies foreign and domestic, thereby making underestandable the language of the second amendment.
Is the "oral Torah" required to comprehend the "written Torah"?|
'In simple physical terms, the written Torah has both beginning and end. However, our practice of immediately restarting the cycle of Torah on Simchat Torah, blurs the distinction between beginning and end.
Think about how we behave toward a gift, how we more scrupulously guard that which we have earned by our own efforts than that given to us as a gift. Because in the end and we've all done this, you're thinking: 'I've lost this, misplaced it, ruined it (whatever you did) but hey it's no big deal because it was a gift and, as such, I have suffered no financial loss.' Such thinking is an inversion of what a cheshbon (taking stock of one's self for reasons of self-improvement) is supposed to be.
All of our senses are gifts: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. They are essential but not indispensable to the enjoyment of our lives.
We have seen folks who live their lives with challenges that seem insurmountable to us. Naturally, we often wonder if we would do as well as they.
Rabbi Akiva's Shema
The story is probably apocryphal and you know what? It does not make an ounce of difference because the object lesson is NOT the transmission of fools' tales but the inculcation of admiration for the truly admirable.
The Sabbath arriveth shortly. Gotta go.
to be continued.