Fortitude – Endurance in clinging to the good

Today I listened to a talk given by a friend on the virtue of fortitude. The subject of this talk reminded me of Sandro Botticelli’s depiction of Fortitude (1470), which is in the Uffizi in Florence. While it’s displayed in a set with six other paintings of virtues, this panel is the only one inContinue reading “Fortitude – Endurance in clinging to the good”

“Laish” by Aharon Appelfeld

It might seem that Aharon Appelfeld’s novels are mystical. Yet, with the enchanting characters – whose blindness, deafness, muteness, psychic unrest, vulnerabilities of age, and moral defects serve to “exaggerate purposely, to make things visible” (as a character says in a different one of his novels) – there is the splendorous reality of the humanContinue reading ““Laish” by Aharon Appelfeld”

“Be a Jew, forever!”

On this date in 1977, Shimon Peres became the 8th Prime Minister of Israel. As Shmuel Rosner wrote in this New York Times article, “Mr. Peres began his life in Vishneva, a village on the border of modern-day Poland and Belarus. When he left for Palestine in 1934, under his original name, Shimon Persky, hisContinue reading ““Be a Jew, forever!””

Ethics is not the science of happiness

Today I find myself thinking about Janusz Korczak. A Polish-Jewish author, teacher, pediatrician, and orphanage director, he refused to leave the orphans during the Second World War even though he was offered refuge. The Nazis murdered him, together with the children, at the death camp called Treblinka.

Moral maturity & Passover

I love getting Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ words of wisdom via WhatsApp message on my phone. He always offers such refreshing and illuminating insights. Today I listened to a short clip about the custom of spilling a drop of wine, including at the mention of the ten plagues during the Passover Seder meal.

Why does God harden Pharaoh’s heart?

Today, I spent a little time reflecting on Exodus 7:3 which says, “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and I will increase My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.” And of course I had the obvious question that people have had for millennia which is: Why would God need to harden Pharaoh’sContinue reading “Why does God harden Pharaoh’s heart?”

“Do you want to be made well?”

I’ve always been struck by Jesus’ question to the man he encountered who had been paralyzed for 38 years. Jesus finds him at the pool called Bethesda and asks him, “Do you want to be made well?” (Today’s gospel, John 5:2-18) The strange question would seem to elicit one obvious answer – ‘Yes.’ However, thisContinue reading ““Do you want to be made well?””

What Millennials Want

Three things millennials are seeking most

DNA is not what makes you you.

The results of the moral tests we face are more defining than the genetic tests we take.  Recently, I was in Washington, D.C. No matter how often I visit the States, it always amazes me how obsessed Americans are with race. During a conference I attended, the other millennials spent their lunch hour going aroundContinue reading “DNA is not what makes you you.”

More than Consent: The Ennoblement of Sex

In Democracy in America Alexis de Tocqueville said, “Everybody feels the evil, but no one has courage or energy enough to seek the cure.” Today Patrick Brown resigned as Ontario PC Leader because of sexual misconduct allegations and federal MP Kent Hehr resigned from cabinet over allegations of sexual harassment.