Posts tagged " Genesis "

Who’s the “us” in “Let us make man”?

July 14th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 1 comment

Question:

In Genesis God declares, “Let Us make man in Our Own Image.” Who is the Us?

∼ Ted M., MD

Answer:

Dear Ted,

The phrase, “Let us make man…” is the subject of volumes of ancient Jewish wisdom. So troubling is it on the surface, that when Jewish sages were forced to translate the Bible into Greek (an event whose ramifications are felt so deeply that until today that date is observed annually by fasting) seventy sages purposely mistranslated the verse, despite being in different rooms. Miraculously every one of them translated it as, “let me make man”.
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No Work This Monday

July 7th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Got a project that you’re proud of at work? Better hurry up and get it done because all work is soon coming to an end. Machines are taking over; it’s the end of work. Some greet the news with dismay, What will people do with all that leisure? Others eagerly anticipate a world of all play and no work. Some say humans will no longer have to work. Others say humans will no longer get to work. But all agree this major change is on the horizon.

For those of you eager to hear that you can sleep late this Monday morning, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that work is not coming to an end. The good news is the same. This provocative and puerile prediction has been a staple of everyone from foolish social scientists to bogus futurists for a long time. (more…)

Do orthodox Jews interpret the Bible literally?

June 17th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 1 comment

Question:

My pastor tells me that, “The most orthodox view historically seems to be not a literal interpretation,” with the creation story in Genesis 1-3.

Would you agree with this? Are there other passages in the Torah like this? Are their hints in the Hebrew that suggest something to be non-literal?  ∼ Jarred

Answer:

Dear Jarred,

A few days ago, Jews celebrated the festival of Shavuot, known in English as Pentecost. Shavuot falls during the Hebrew month of Sivan, whose sign is twins. (General culture adapted this idea turning it into the zodiac sign of Gemini.)

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Rowdy Red or Benign Blue

May 31st, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

It was on election night November 2nd, 1976, when President Ford was being challenged by Jimmy Carter that NBC television showed us our first blue/red electoral map. The blue was Republican and showed the 27 states won by Ford, while red was Democrat. It was only in the 2000 Bush-Gore election that the colors were switched. Since then red shows states and counties voting Republican while blue stands for Democrats.

This was a cunning reversal of the usual convention of red symbols standing for left-leaning revolutionary movements while conservative parties in almost every country used blue. After all, the color red was emblematic of communism and still reminds us of the Soviets. You might remember the Cold War cry of the American left, “Better red than dead!” (more…)

What exactly are we supposed to subdue?

May 25th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

“The first mission or command given to mankind is be fruitful, multiply, subdue and have dominion. Can you explain this in detail? I’ve heard that the word “subdue” specifically means to take rulership over something or someone hostile. 

Who or what is the word hostile referring to?  

∼ Scott C.

Answer:

Dear Scott,

Because of the difficulty in translating accurately from the Hebrew we think that your English translation is actually combining the final two verbs to imply both subduing and having dominion. (more…)

Truth and Lies

May 10th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

What parent, at one time or another, hasn’t wished for an absolutely reliable, invisible lie-detector? What business professional interviewing a potential hire hasn’t wished for exactly the same thing? Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘Invisible’ is impossible. True, but so is ‘absolutely reliable lie-detector,’ so I saw no harm in adding ‘invisible’ to the wish list.

It is true that stress can cause various physiological responses like elevated blood pressure and sweating. It is also true that these can be measured by a polygraph but for good reason, most legal jurisdictions allow polygraph results only for investigatory purposes, not for gaining a conviction. Factors other than lying can cause the same physiological responses and too many people can lie without presenting these physical reactions. (more…)

Sneering At Virtue

May 3rd, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Here is one of the most important lessons to teach your children: Wrongdoers detest those who don’t join in. It’s also not a bad lesson for you to understand and absorb if you want a clear picture of the behind-the-scenes politics in your place of business. It is just as necessary in order to understand how power and money have corrupted much of our political process.

More than one dedicated and idealistic candidate has won election promising to become a representative of the people. Finding his place in the corridors of power, he discovers to his dismay that many of his colleagues are there to feather their nests. What is more, he is quickly made to understand that if he holds himself aloof and refrains from participation in the plunder he will never receive invitations to the best parties. More seriously, he will be overlooked for committee appointments. There are no easy ways to deal with this reality, leading many earnest and well-intentioned people to succumb to the enticements of power. It is very difficult to live with one’s virtue being mocked. (more…)

This Way or That

April 5th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Want to lose weight? It’s always hard, but why make it harder than necessary by using the wrong strategies? Everyone knows that there are two prongs to this challenging goal: eating fewer calories and increasing exercise. Where to start? Is it more effective to sign up at a gym and use the exhilaration of mastering the Elliptical to help overcome the urge for chocolate cream eclairs or better first to lay off the calories and once that urge has been defeated, get going on the treadmill?

Intoxicated by a regular paycheck in your first job after college you’ve gone on a spending spree. The credit card bills make you hyperventilate each month. Got to get the finances into shape. Got to stop spending and start saving. But which one first? Take a scissors to the credit cards and then go and open a savings account or the other way around. Do we humans respond best to ending destructive behavior and only then starting the restorative conduct or the other way around? (more…)

Stomp On Those Eggs

March 23rd, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

“Darzee (the tailor bird) was a feather-brained little fellow who could never hold more than one idea at a time in his head. And just because he knew that Nagaina’s (the cobra) children were born in eggs like his own, he didn’t think at first that it was fair to kill them. But his wife was a sensible bird, and she knew that cobra’s eggs meant young cobras later on.” – (Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling)

This wonderful children’s short story by the great Anglo-Indian writer, Rudyard Kipling, teaches a vital lesson that today’s children never learn and few of their parents know. Cobra eggs turn into cobras, and snakes eat baby birds and kill people. Rikki Tikki Tavi, the brave young mongoose knows this lesson and destroys cobra eggs wherever he finds them.

It is a lesson that today’s public policy experts and contemporary political leaders would do well to learn and until they do, they ought to kneel before victims of terror begging forgiveness for their foolishness. Their fond illusion that all cultures are identical has cost countless lives. Their insistence that evil is found only in racism, intolerance and xenophobia condemns countless terror victims to death.   The way the world really works is that some evil is just so hideous that it must be wiped out.   It can’t be cured with money neither will multi-cultural educational programs achieve anything. Some people have become so evil that rehabilitation is all but impossible. (more…)

Does Genesis justify abortion?

March 10th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

Kermit Gosnell (abortionist covictied of murder) justifies abortion using Genesis 2:7. (Adam became a living soul when God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils.) He claims that a baby does not become a living soul until it takes its first breath of air.
 
Please tell me that God’s language and Ancient Jewish Wisdom refute that notion.

∼ Darryl B.

Answer:

 Dear Darryl,

We are a bit tired and assume you are too of people who cherry pick through the Bible to support their own views. If you followed the view you mention, you would have to conclude that animals are not alive since God never breathed the breath of life into them. Somehow, I feel that Gosnell would not justify gratuitous and random killing of animals based on the idea that they are no more alive than carrots.

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