Birchas Ha-Chamah For Litvaks, or What Happens If It Rains?

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1 Response

  1. Raymond says:

    I probably do not understand much of what Rabbi Adlerstein so eloquently wrote, yet somehow what he expressed, reminds me of a well-known saying by British novelist/essayist George Orwell: “Some ideas are so stupid, that only an intellectual believes them.”

    Sometimes I wonder if there are segments of our society that are too over-intellectualized. That may sound counter-intuitive, since so many people are so ignorant in so many things. But I am thinking here about, for example, tenured university professors in the social sciences, who are so caught up in their own thoughts, so divorced from the trials and tribulations of everyday life, that they may have little or no wisdom at all. It is no accident that many of them harbor ideas so destructive to our civilization, such as various forms of Marxism that have unfortunately so infiltrated our society.

    Businessmen, in sharp contrast, may not be able to write great literary works or political treatises, but because they are forced to deal with the public in a very real, down-to-Earth way, may have more wisdom than any professor.

    One of the wisest aspects of Judaism, is its stress on action in the every day world. While beliefs are definitely important, it is the doing of the endless commandments that give the ideas of Judaism a more concrete, deeper, and meaningful imprint. The Torah itself is not particularly philosophical, as much as it is about everyday actions of flesh-and-blood human beings. The Talmud is overwhelmingly a discussion of the law, with a sprinkling of stories: again, its emphasis is on the concrete.

    I think that is what Rabbi Adlerstein is trying to say here, that events like our ancestors being saved from Egyptian slavery, or even something as abstract as the sun being in the same position relative to the Earth as it was when President Reagan first took office, should be moved away from the abstract, to the more concrete, in order for it to have real meaning in our lives.

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