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How's Your Faith?

It’s been an honor to be with David Gregory on his many-year journey to faith as a regular study partner and friend. It’s striking to read reviews and listen to podcasts and interviews where David lays bare a raw soul. I read How’s Your Faith? in an earlier version in February and felt my eyes water several times. I just finished listening to the audiobook this week and – while I know I am biased – I was deeply moved by David’s capacity to make himself vulnerable. David is a seeker who really rode the highs and lows of life in the public eye, who struggled with his mother’s alcoholism as a child and who is negotiating an interfaith family with a wife of great strength, sensitivity and faith but not his faith.

We’re entering the seventh year of studying together on a semi-regular basis, and a recent moment strikes me as particularly poignant. Our usual study haunts were in his office at NBC studios or a Bethesda Starbucks on Wisconsin Avenue. I never worried that we would run out of topics. I worried about getting a good parking space.

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...When we look at all the patterns in the first chapter of Beresheet (Genesis)- the creation of time, creation through the word, creation through separation, creation and evaluation, that the created world could regenerate itself, that God blessed human beings and provided a world that could nourish us - we understand something very profound. Some people think that the greatest contribution of the Jews to the world is the belief in one God. I think that’s not enough. It’s also the kind of singular God that we believe in that also matters, and it matters greatly.  Our one God is orderly and thoughtful. He cares about human beings, provides for them and blesses them... 

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Weekly Jewish Wisdom

FEB 4, 2016

Be Jealous

The jealousy of scholars generates wisdom.

BT  Baba Batra 21b



Last week we read the Ten Commandments in the annual Torah cycle. The last one warns us not to have envy, to covet another's wife or house, servants, animals or anything else. This was at a time when we had just left slavery and had little to own, yet even so, it would not take much to believe that someone else has it better and has what should rightfully be ours.
By ending on this note, the commandments gives envy a special and particularly sordid status among biblical transgressions, perhaps because it's a foundational emotion that can trigger other destructive behaviors mentioned in the commandments. We need to keep our jealousy in check since such intense and passionate feelings of dissatisfaction with what one has can lead to any number of crimes: infidelity, thievery, and possibly murder. Even if such rash feelings don't lead to immoral behavior, they can certainly lead to insecurity, self-doubt and depression.


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