Monday, January 26, 2009

Mishnaic political insight in Kabbalat Shabbat

Our rabbis foresaw everything, and if we but knew how to read them, we too would foresee a lot of stuff. Vicariously, I mean. For example, we are specifically told not to kindle our new president:

ובמה אין מדליקין׃

You're welcome.

(If you point out the flaws in this, I promise to chortle quietly instead of guffawing loudly and unbecomingly.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Delicately stated

A devar Torah that I heard this Shabbat ended with something like this (and this isn't a direct quote, but I'm pretty sure I got all the key stuff right): Every life is infinitely precious. Thirteen Israelis were killed in the recent war, and we grieve for all of them. And we thank Hashem that there were no more deaths than that.

Every life is infinitely precious--how beautiful, how very enlightened. A speaker with less delicate sensibilities might have said that every Jewish life is infinitely precious.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm reasonably sure this might count as anti-Semitic

Often, I see nothing more than verbal carelessness or social clumsiness where many of my fellow Jews see anti-Semitism. On the other hand, the New Republic web site has a blog post regarding Madoff, which drew this comment from iambiguous (I just love that anonymity stuff!), which seems not to be ambiguous at all:

From Matthew, chapter 19, verse 24: "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into the kingdom of God."

Not all editions of the Bible have that Book, of course.