We humans are naturally curious creatures — we are born to explore. A mission to Mars excites us because we simply don’t know what we’ll discover, or how exactly it will add to our knowledge, or what new technologies will arise as a result. Even if we don’t immediately sense its benefits, it still has value, because the journey of learning is its own reward.
If we act “as if” we were trying to improve who we are and how we behave, we actually do improve who we are and how we behave.
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.
While hard work is the way ideas get actualized, rest is an effective way for us to evaluate our ideas.
The question isn’t “how Jewish are we?” or “how religious are we?” The real question is, “How can Judaism help us to become better people and to create a better world?”
Reflecting on the past is not the real purpose of memory. Instead, as Professor Steve Joordens says, memory is “any time when a past experience has an effect on current or future behavior.” In other words, memory is not about the past – memory is really about the present and the future.
While the calendar can remind us when sacred moments happen, we are the ones who have the power to truly make them significant.