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Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part II)

Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it? Ben Glassman (Via E-Mail)

Toldos: And They Called His Name Eisav

At a thing’s inception, it contains the potential for both good and bad. This applies also to our forefathers.

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part I)

Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it? Ben Glassman (Via E-Mail)

Chayei Sarah: The Blessing Hashem Wished To Impart

Hashem has many agents who do His bidding and bring about in the world the ends He desires. Sometimes the agent is rather unlikely, as when an evil person’s deeds bring about something beneficial. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, explains that such was the case when Rivkah’s family bestowed upon her a blessing that in fact alluded to Israel’s ultimate elevation over the other nations, and Hashem’s ultimate kingship over all the world.

The Left’s Instinctive Reaction To 9/11

As we mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, it would be instructive to look back at the early reactions to the atrocity on the part of some prominent leftists. It's become something of a mantra on the left that the whole world initially sympathized with the U.S., and that America's image was so irredeemably tarnished only after the evil warmonger George W. Bush trashed the Constitution and sent the American military off to slaughter innocent Muslims in the interests of Halliburton and other capitalist behemoths.

A World Gone Mad

Another horrific terrorist attack is perpetrated in Israel and we knew what to expect. A statement of outrage and condemnation from the White House, regrets from the Palestinian Authority, and from the UN a call for all sides to exercise restraint and remain committed to the (non-existent) "peace process." In short, yet another exercise in futility if ever there was one.

Rescuing Religion From Its Reputation

"It's not easy being labeled religious these days," a friend confessed to me a few weeks ago. My friend may be right - so-called religious people have committed some of humanity's most horrific crimes, casting a dark shadow on religion - but what is religion? What is the definition of a "religious person"? What was he referring to? Can religion and evil really co-exist?

Not The Jewish Way

Those of you who have heard me speak or who read my columns and books know that whenever I opine on a subject I try to base what I say or write on our Torah and the teachings of our sages. There are so many things taking place so rapidly in front of our eyes that before we can absorb one event, another one unfolds. This rapid succession is so overwhelming that it allows us no time to think.

Siona Benjamin’s Megillas Esther

There is nothing funny about Siona Benjamin's Megillas Esther (2010). Unlike some contemporary illuminated megillas that emphasize the absurd and outlandish nature of the corrupt Persian court and the buffoonish character of the king, Benjamin takes the Book of Esther quite seriously. She is obviously deeply sensitive to the terrible consequences of God's hester panim (hidden face) in our own time.

No Hate Like Liberal Hate

Need further proof of how hopelessly liberal the mainstream media really are? Just consider the coverage of the accusations of incivility and incitement hurled at Republicans and conservatives by Democrats and liberals in the aftermath of the December shootings in Tucson.

Clear And Present Danger

Anyone wanting to walk in the shoes of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff was in luck, as thousands of belongings from his New York penthouse, including pairs of designer shoes, recently went on the auction block, and often sold for far more than the pre-bid estimates.

Crowning Our King

"I want a new me. But every year after Yom Kippur it seems the 'old' me is still here. After all those heartfelt prayers! The shofar blowing! Fasting! Crying! What happened to all my good intentions?"

Republicans Will Never Abandon Israel

From the earliest moments of American history, before there was a state of Israel, Americans were dreaming dreams of a Jewish homeland. In every generation in each century of American history, the greatest of American patriots and leaders linked the heart of America to the cause of Israel. Why? What is it about America that so deeply connects us to Israel?

Moses’ Spies in Art

Growing up, I used to enjoy reading S. Weissman's Little Midrash Says (published 1986) and carefully studying Siegmund Forst's illustrations of the weekly Torah portion. At the time, I had no idea how many of Forst's drawings were derived from earlier traditions of biblical illustration (many of them Christian), but I was particularly struck by the moral readability of the narratives. It was always a cinch to figure out who was a good character and who was evil; you could read it on their faces. The heroes were always smiling widely and the villains looked ugly and angry at the world.

Moses’ Spies in Art

Growing up, I used to enjoy reading S. Weissman's Little Midrash Says (published 1986) and carefully studying Siegmund Forst's illustrations of the weekly Torah portion. At the time, I had no idea how many of Forst's drawings were derived from earlier traditions of biblical illustration (many of them Christian), but I was particularly struck by the moral readability of the narratives. It was always a cinch to figure out who was a good character and who was evil; you could read it on their faces. The heroes were always smiling widely and the villains looked ugly and angry at the world.

Conflicts, Conflicts, Conflicts

Special Note: For the past two weeks my columns have focused on the sad state of contemporary family life - controversies between siblings, parents, and children. Unfortunately, however, this deplorable state of affairs is not limited to families. Our communities and our institutions are all ridden by "infighting."

The Latest Chapter Of Israel And “Palestine” – Not Tragedy, But An Absurd Drama...

Credo quia absurdum. "I believe because it is absurd." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now officially on record in favor of creating a Palestinian state (a position that he had long opposed), but only if the new Arab state is "demilitarized." Naturally, any such notion of demilitarization will be anathema to the Palestinians and their supporters, and has - in fact - already been rejected by all of them.

Tapes, Transcripts And Watergate Ruminations

The recent release of yet another batch of Nixon tapes and transcripts inspired a new round of fulminations by Nixon-haters, most of whom are tellingly silent or remarkably forgiving when the misdeeds and indiscretions of other former presidents are revealed.

Shining Stars, Divine Decrees

The month of Adar is the final one on the zodiacal cycle in the year that begins with the month of Nissan (Aries), which marks the birth of creation and is symbolized by the gentle white ram.

Miracle In A Jerusalem Hotel

This past summer highlighted to me how "charity, prayer, and repentance help to annul the evil decree." I try to visit my grandparents' graves in Israel every summer. They are the parents of my late beloved father, Rabbi Dr. Joseph I. Singer. When my father wasn't able to go to Israel due to illness, I would go to pray at his parents' graves and pay for the upkeep.

Senseless Love

One month ago, humanity woke up to a very dark world.

Senseless Love

One month ago, humanity woke up to a very dark world.

The Essence Of Evil

If you were to stare evil in the eye, what would you see? What would be its character traits? What would form its origins?

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