Ki Tavo: What a Waste!
Man has an innate desire to see the fruit of his own efforts. When life's blessings are handed to one on a silver platter, those blessings are robbed of much of their meaning. This explains the well-known phenomenon in which children of very successful parents want to strike out on their own, gaining their own sense of accomplishment. Though their success can often be attributed to the support and the safety net of successful parents,...Continue Reading »
Brachot 32a: Forcing G-d to Forgive
One of the exciting aspects of Talmud study is the range of ideas presented, and the openness to expressing radical ideas—including those bordering on the heretical. Even more fascinating is that the Talmud finds license for such views in the biblical texts themselves. “Now, therefore, leave Me alone [so that] My anger may flare up against them, and I shall annihilate them and will make of thee a great nation” (Shemot 32:10)....Continue Reading »
Brachot 31: Where to Pray
The Talmud spends a good deal of time discussing the proper frame of mind for prayer. In a rather obvious remark (yet, much easier said than done), the Gemara notes that “One must aim their thoughts towards heaven” (Brachot 31a). As an example of such the Talmud records the following: “Rav Yehuda says this was the custom of Rabbi Akiva, when he would pray between him and himself, one would leave him in this corner and find...Continue Reading »
Brachot 27: Too Close for Comfort?
The Gemara (Brachot 27a), in discussing the propriety of making an “early Shabbat”, records that Rav Yirmiya davened just behind his teacher, Rav, on Friday afternoons while Rav was reciting the prayers for Shabbat. The Gemara questions how he could do so, as it was Rav himself, the founder of the great academy in Sura, who taught that it is inappropriate to daven next to or behind one’s teacher. Rashi explains...Continue Reading »
Dead Foundation Money
Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney recently called on Canadian corporations to start spending the over 500 billion dollars of cash, “dead money” as he called it, sitting on their balance sheets. “Their job is to put money to work, and if they can’t think of what to do with it they should give it back to their shareholders.” Not surprisingly, corporate Canada disagrees with this assessment, arguing that--due to...Continue Reading »