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Crosswords can teach us more than just the first name of “NYPD Blue” actor Morales. They teach us how to fail — which is what we need to learn how to do in order to truly succeed.
The Hebrew word for miracle, “nes,” really means a “sign.” It’s not necessarily a voice from the heavens, or even a deviation from the natural order, although those would certainly astound us. Instead, a nes is something that engenders a sense of awe and mystery.
Owning dozens (or hundreds!) of unread books is a very physical reminder that there is always more wisdom being added to the world. It is both inspiring and humbling to know that whatever we learn, there will always be new facts, new interpretations, and new ideas to discover.
Having hopes and dreams are crucial to our well-being. We have to fantasize about the way our lives and our world might be, because they impel us forward. But it’s not enough simply to dream — we have to put in the work to make those dreams happen.
While we hope that our life is easy, with few storms to toss us around, when disasters do happen, we truly see our ability and our need to connect with others. And even more striking, we see just how much it brings out the best in everyone.
Joy expands who we are. And that’s a message we need to remember for Sukkot.
“Knowing” can be a big problem, because “knowing” prevents “learning.” And so perhaps that’s why the Rabbis urged us to do something very challenging – to “teach [our] tongue to say ‘I don’t know.’”
There are two Hebrew words that we say many, many times over these High Holy Days. Those two Hebrew words are, of course, shanah tovah. And yet we almost always mistranslate them.
It is far too easy for us to skim headlines and ignore context, to regurgitate ideas without considering them critically, and to find support only for perspectives we already buy into. Instead, we have a responsibility to go in depth.
In the internet age, we are all not only consumers of content, but producers of it, as well. Anything we say or share might become the basis of others’ work, and more likely than not, they will simply have to trust that we are telling the truth.
We want to be inspired. We want to find strength. We want to feel connected to something larger than ourselves. But those moments rarely happen by accident.
It’s inherently challenging for believers and atheists to have productive conversations. But one bright person interested in broadening the conversation is Sam McNerney, a science writer who focuses on cognitive science and an atheist interested in religion from a psychological point of view. So as two people with different religious outlooks we wondered: what can we learn from each other?