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Man: Merely Another Animal

This is a basic assumption of today’s experts. And their assumption is not wrong, at least not on its face. We have bodies that are not so different from apes. The building block of our existence is the same as it is for all living things in this world. Mankind is dominant, goes the theory, […]

Jewish Priests and the Dead

Most faiths wrestle with the concept of death and an afterlife. Indeed, as the ultimate unfalsifiable belief (since we cannot dispatch forensic teams to reconnoiter and report back), we are each free to believe whatever we want about what happens when we die. In most religions, priests are considered critical for connection to the world […]

The Perils of Asking the Wrong Questions

Think of all the kids who are perfectly normal until someone says, “If you are not 100% comfortable in your body, then you are transgender.” https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/frightening-video-this-is-every-parents-worst-nightmare/ And, since no child is truly comfortable in a body that is still growing and changing and that – in any case – is never precisely the way they […]

Aesop’s Follies: Achieving Permanence Through Action  

My mother was, later in life, deeply worried about security: her own home, money in the bank, stability in all things. She was a brilliant woman, but she was also handicapped by the need to cling to things that were safe. She died too young, still obsessing about assurances for a future that she no […]

Wrapping My Head Around Child Sacrifice

Of course, the perfectly reasonable reaction to this headline would be: “why would anyone want to understand the motivations for child sacrifice?” Just the thought of sacrificing children makes any good person nauseous. When I was a child and first learned of the practice, I was sure it was a joke – why, nobody would […]

An Orthodox Jew Goes Into an LDS Temple…

One of the great challenges of anyone’s life is to be able to understand how other people think. We cannot hope to change this world unless and until we are able to see things from the perspective of others, even – and especially – people who are quite different from ourselves. I had quite an […]

The Paschal Lamb: Reaffirming the Value of Each Person

Judeo-Christian creed values each human life. We often forget that this principle is not shared by everyone. A “rational” person treats people as the sum of their utilitarian value, and thus is mystified why anyone should care about what happens to Uighurs or Hutus or even Ukrainians.  But even as we can trace the idea […]

Freedom’s Bane

It is almost axiomatic that rural voters vote red, and urban voters vote blue. Single women are much more likely to vote for Democrats, while married women are more like to vote for Republicans. And I think there is a single, profoundly important explanation for all of it. Insecurity. Rural voters know how to fix […]

Spiritual and Physical Fires

Fire is fire, right? Actually, in the Torah, there are different kinds of fire. And the differences illustrate some interesting lessons, as well as offering an explanation for one of the odder stories in the Torah – the one about the snake on the stick. There is a word for “burning” – saraf. And there […]

Why Did G-d Make the World?

After many years, I think I have a plausible answer to this question. And it comes straight out of the text, directly from observing what G-d does in Genesis (and the rest of the Torah). First off, we have to appreciate that G-d creates separation in the world: He separates the waters above and below. […]

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