In this week's Torah portion, Vayishlach, Jacob travels with his family back to the Land of Israel, away from his uncle Laban’s house, where he had worked as a shepherd for many years. After sending his family ahead, Jacob wanders alone:
One of the most fascinating television characters I grew up with was Mr. Spock, chief science officer of the Starship Enterprise. The product of a mixed marriage, a human mother and a Vulcan father, his Vulcan logical self struggles with his human emotional self. He once said, “Being split into two halves is no theory with me, doctor. I have a human half, you see, as well as an alien half ... submerged, constantly at war with each other. I survive because my intelligence wins out over both and makes them live together.”
If you have had a conversation with me in the past 18 months, you know that I pretty much have a one-track mind. Yep, all I think about is Bitcoin and the technology that underlies it, the blockchain.
Just like email or a browser is an application that uses the Internet, Bitcoin is an application that uses a blockchain. And just like the Internet has spawned millions of apps, blockchains will (and are) spawning an entire new set of apps. Now, I realize that the concept of a blockchain is not easy to comprehend; on the surface, it represents a pretty significant paradigm shift. But it’s really not.
How would Sarai tell Avram’s story? Let us imagine that we have found Sarai’s diary:
During Yom Kippur services, we read about the rituals the High Priest performed in the Temple. After its destruction, the job of preparing for and conducting the Yom Kippur atonement service falls on us. Neither the Torah nor the Talmud instructs us exactly how to approach G-d, but in the Mussaf service on Rosh Hashanah we explicitly ask G-d to treat us “like children” to Him. We approach G-d similarly on Yom Kippur, the culmination of the Ten Days of Repentance.
A group of more than 20 of my family members recently got together in Las Vegas to celebrate the 60th birthday of my dear aunt. While there, I found myself in the poker room at a hotel on the Strip. As I sat, I noticed I completed the “minyan” of 10 adult poker players at our table.
I was once told that Heinz doesn’t make its money from the ketchup you use, but rather the ketchup you don’t use. Making sure you have enough so that you won’t have to worry is what drives the world’s economy — but is it heading to a place where you really want to go?
Mount Everest blindfolded, a three-minute mile, a Mars landing — they are all a piece of cake compared to raising emotionally healthy children.
Yet, going against conventional wisdom and everything you heard on Sesame Street, this week’s Torah portion drops the proverbial bomb about parenting: There is nothing quite like unhealthy environments to help raise healthy children.
There is an old joke about a little Jewish boy who comes home from public school proclaiming his newfound knowledge about three gods. Upon hearing the news, his father hollers in indignation, “There are not three gods. There is only one G-d, and we don’t believe in Him!”
Every person will, at some point in his life, take an accounting. He will not only ask whether he achieved his goals, but also if he achieved the right goals.
Was it worth all that effort? Could I have achieved more? If only I had thought it through... You don’t have to be old to ask these questions. The older you are, though, the harder these questions are to face, and the more frequently they rise to your consciousness. The High Holidays train us to think through and face these questions now, as opposed to in the future; to take the pain of “now,” rather than the anguish of “then,” because pain is passing, but the results are permanent.
We read in this week’s parsha, Nitzavim:
“For this commandment which I command you this day, it is not too hard for you, and it is not distant. It is not in heaven, that you should say: ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say: ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?’” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14).
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