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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 11, 2016

Losing It

If you see your fellow Israelite’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to its owner.”
Deuteronomy 22:1


I don’t know about you, but when I lose something, I believe the object in question has just taken a temporary hiatus from my possession and will soon make its way back. In Jewish law, a person who loses an object can have “yai-ush” - relinquishment or despair of ever seeing it again. Once a person lets go mentally, it lessens or negates the obligation to return the object. I’m just letting you know that I’m never letting go. Things I lost in sixth grade are still coming back. The central thesis of A Place Called Here by Irish novelist Ceceli Ahern is that all our lost objects end up in a mysterious land, home to single socks, twenty dollar bills, and one earring. 
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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