Synthesizing Happiness

062113_Etan_Mintz

Dr. Daniel Gilbert, an eminent professor of psychology at Harvard University, describes a fascinating study demonstrating that one year after individuals either win the lottery or become paraplegic, their levels of happiness were the same as before those events occurred. This is a truly astounding finding, which insinuates that even events that seem to be… Read More

Help Comes From God

The story is told that Itzhak Perlman once came on stage to play a violin concerto. Having contracted polio at age 4, greatly impacting his ability to walk, he made his way across the stage laboriously using his crutches. He laid the crutches down, picked up his Soil Stradivarius and began tuning the instrument. All… Read More

A Group Effort

Anyone who has served in the leadership of a Jewish organization will immediately recognize the claim of Korach and his group of rebels that begins this week’s Torah portion: “They combined against Moses and Aaron and said to them, ‘You have gone too far! For all the community are holy, every one of them, and… Read More

In The End, Cheaters Always Get A Failing Grade

Raphi and I were walking home from school one day when I playfully jeered him for getting such good grades. “How do you do it?” I said with a smile. My life changed forever with his answer: “I cheat.” “You what?” My mouth dropped opened, and I just stood there staring at my friend; I… Read More

Parshat Shelach Have Faith, And No Goal Is Too Lofty

Imagine you are one of the 12 spies that were sent to scout Israel in this week’s parsha. You are “a distinguished man, one of the heads of the Children of Israel” (Numbers 13:3). Like everyone else, you’ve experienced the daily miracles in the camp of Israel: manna from the heaven like dew, water appearing… Read More

In The End, Cheaters Always Get A Failing Grade

Raphi and I were walking home from school one day when I playfully jeered him for getting such good grades. “How do you do it?” I said with a smile. My life changed forever with his answer: “I cheat.” “You what?” My mouth dropped opened, and I just stood there staring at my friend; I… Read More

Parshat Shelach Have Faith, And No Goal Is Too Lofty

Imagine you are one of the 12 spies that were sent to scout Israel in this week’s parsha. You are “a distinguished man, one of the heads of the Children of Israel” (Numbers 13:3). Like everyone else, you’ve experienced the daily miracles in the camp of Israel: manna from the heaven like dew, water appearing miraculously from the… Read More

An Honest Mistake

It was my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. For their special day, Dad had commissioned a piece from an Italian glass blower. Mom loved fancy lamps, so Dad bought her a Morano handmade chandelier. It had cost him a pretty penny, and it had taken the artist half a year to create. You should have seen… Read More

Lighting a Fire

When we enter this week’s parsha, Beha’alotecha, God is speaking for the first time from inside theMishkan (Tabernacle), from the space above the ark. God instructs Moses to tell Aaron that he should mount and light the lamps of the menorah and to show Aaron how to do so.

Torah and Liberty

On a recent outing with my students to visit the extraordinary National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, we took a short detour to the Liberty Bell Center, which sits conveniently across Independence Mall from the NMAJH.  There is tremendous symbolism to the balance of the particular story of the Jewish people in America… Read More