"And you shall not take a bribe; for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous."
Shalom. I hope you've been having a good summer, and I wish you all the best. Here are a few items of importance for members of the University Network of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals.
1. Please make sure that we have your correct mailing list on file. You may go to our website, jewishideas.org, and check your My Account page. We plan to mail out the new issue of Conversations (Orthodoxy and Ethics) in early September, and it's important that we have your correct mailing address.
I recently attended Shabbat morning services at a synagogue that was having a "Carlebach Shabbat". A group of "Carlebachians" led the services, and sang many of the prayers to music composed by the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.
I happened to be sitting next to one of the organizers of this Shabbat event, and I asked him: what does a "Carlebach Shabbat" service provide, that seems to be lacking in the "regular" synagogue service? He pondered for a few moments, and then answered in one word: "Yearning".
I have been pondering this response ever since.
This week's Torah reading includes the Shema--the classic statement of Jewish faith: Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One. We are commanded to recite this passage each morning and each evening as a confirmation of our "accepting the yoke of the kingdom of Heaven".
We recently returned from a wonderful trip to Israel. As we sat in the waiting area of the BenGurion airport terminal before the flight, we noticed a young family nearby--a husband and wife and their little children aged 12 and under. As could be expected, the children were restless and wanted to run around and play.
The mother, in a soft voice, spoke to the children: It's fine to play, but please remember: everything you do should be a "kiddush Hashem" (a sanctification of God's name). The children understood their mother's message, and they played nicely and quietly.
Among Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik’s lectures, was one that dealt with the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. “A grandfather stands before his newly born grandchild filled with paradoxical thoughts. Feelings of renewal merge with fading memories of the past.”
Shalom uvrakha. I hope you all had a good Pessah. Best wishes to you as the academic year draws to a close. Here are a few reminders.
1. The next issue of our journal, Conversations, is due out in mid-May. The theme is: Orthodoxy and Diversity. Please make sure that we have your correct mailing address by going to your My Account page on the Institute's website: www.jewishideas.org
The Talmud (Gittin 67A) reports a conversation between Rabbi Yehuda haNasi (the great compiler of the Mishna) and his son Rabbi Shimon. The rabbis had established a hierarchy of authorities; in case of disagreements, the opinions of certain sages were considered more authoritative than the opinons of their colleagues. The sage who usually prevailed was Rabbi Yosei. Rabbi Shimon asked his father: why do we rule according to Rabbi Yosei, when some of his colleagues were known to be more incisive?
the Titanic sunk. That great luxury ship struck an iceberg, letting
ocean water plunge in. The tragedy resulted in the loss of about 1500
lives. The prevailing theory had been that the hull of the ship had
been gashed open by the iceberg. The new theory offers a different
Shalom and best wishes for a happy Hanukkah. We have about 150 members in our University Network, with students from throughout the US as well as several other countries. Our group continues to grow, and we hope you'll invite your fellow students to sign up for the University Network by going to our website jewishideas.org. Here are a few items for your attention.