Can we really know the truth?
That is a question philosophers have pondered through the ages in contemplation of spiritual refinement and pursuit of higher purpose. Today, the same question no longer kindles the thirst for wisdom but rather fuels the flames of social strife and political acrimony.
Why does truth seem so elusive? And why should the search for it set us at one another’s throats?
From Mount Sinai to Dr. Oz, the image of the head locked in battle with the heart has represented the inner conflict of the human psyche. …
“History never repeats itself,” Mark Twain purportedly observed, “but often it rhymes.” Indeed, it does. The repetition of rhyme and cadence and haunting alliteration across generations has become harder and harder to ignore.
“This is their plan… to stir nationality against nationality, race against race, class against class, creed against creed, that their mutual destruction of each other may work out for the glory of Hitler and the grandeur of Japan. They count on our freedom — our individual freedom, our individual interests, our individual pursuit of pleasure and happiness — as the means of our destruction of ourselves.
At first glance, the soggy, green downs of Ulster bear little resemblance to the parched and craggy hills of Israel.
But tug gently at the cultural fabric of either land and you will unravel an unmistakable common thread: two peoples, impossibly close geographically, impossibly distant ideologically, with more than enough fuel for hatred between them to burn until the coming of the Messiah.
Tromping over hills and through city streets, first in one place and then in the other, I discovered a more compelling similarity: the bitter struggle of humanity in exile.
“Which are the bad parts of town, the…
It’s been over a decade, but I still remember reading a delightful and refreshing account of a high school commencement ceremony, which I’ll summarize here:
“A collective sigh of resignation whispered through the assembly of relatives and friends as the graduate-speaker began reciting Robert Frost’s classic poem, “The Road Not Taken.” The captive audience seemed to anticipate a predictable excursion along the overly well-trodden path invoking Frost’s verse as a paean to individuality and non-conformism.
What a pleasant surprise, therefore, when the young speaker departed from the expected formula by arguing with Frost’s message and defending those who have courage…
From the outset of his candidacy in 2016, no one doubted that Donald Trump, if elected, would be a president like no other. It’s also no surprise that the nation has been cheering, mourning, and rebelling against November’s election results which will, barring unexpected court rulings, dispatch President Trump from the White House on January 20.
But amidst the one-sided reportage from both right and left, the paradox of his reign as Chief Executive has been lost in the haze of idol-worship on one side and Trump Derangement Syndrome on the other.
23 centuries ago, the army of Alexander the Great marched into Jerusalem. The ensuing occupation of the Jewish capital proceeded, at the outset, with unexpected smoothness and goodwill.
The Greeks had brought to the world the first secular culture aspiring to more than wealth, lust, and power. Guided by pure aestheticism, Greek art, architecture, and drama demonstrated an affinity for abstract pursuits and singular respect for cerebral engagement. The result was an asynchrony of mutual admiration and appreciation between the Jews and their new masters.
But the veneer of intellectual integrity projected by Greek culture was a sham. Socrates, the…
Every spring, on the first night of Passover, Jewish families all over the world gather around the dining room table to reenact and reexperience the exodus from Egypt. This year will mark the 3,333rd anniversary of the Jews’ emancipation from slavery.
According to rabbinic tradition, the Jews were enslaved for 116 of the 210 years they dwelled in Egypt. And for the final 86 years, they were subjected to backbreaking, spirit-breaking, soul-crushing labor.
Even after the exodus, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. …
To the American people:
Thank you for the honor of electing me to serve as your president.
The last year has battered us with a storm of pandemic and civil violence that none of us foresaw, a tempest that contributed to an ugly and dispiriting election campaign. The hardships and challenges we’ve faced have forced us to confront problems that for too long we’ve tried to ignore. Now we have an opportunity not to point fingers and lay blame, but to seek enduring solutions.
To you, the members of my party, I say: Do not look at these election results…
From 1931 to 1972, the Empire State Building over-towered every other building in the world. Today, it falls 500 feet short of its neighbor at One World Trade Center. And it doesn’t rise to even half the height of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which stands 2717 feet nearer the heavens.
Man’s obsession with monuments to his own architectural prowess is nothing new. According to Jewish tradition, it was 3785 years ago that human beings undertook the first such enterprise — an attempt to literally touch the sky in a place known as Babel.
Comprising only nine scriptural verses, the story of…