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December 26, 2014 / 4 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Gemara’

Boys And Reading: Is There Any Hope?

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

In a recent New York Times article, Robert Lipsyte, a sports author, posed the following question: “Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope?” For years, I have been dealing with this question in my office. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education’s reading tests for the last thirty years show boys scoring worse than girls in every age group, every year.

A few months ago, a boy who I will call Mordechai came to my office with his mother. Mordechai was struggling with kriyah and English reading and his mother wanted to know if there was something deeper going on.

After a thorough evaluation, I was able to rule many things out. Mordechai did not have dyslexia, attention deficit disorder (ADHD), or sensory processing disorder (SPD). What Mordechai was exhibiting was not a difficulty with reading, but rather a reluctance to read. He simply saw no value in the enterprise and was therefore not interested in learning the skill. Even as a second grader, he had decided what his priorities were: sports and math. Sports was not only physical, but social as well and math factored into his everyday life in a way he felt reading did not.

Now, came the tricky part. How can you get someone to learn something if they have decided that they do not want to? After all, as Robert Lipsyte points out, “boys’ aversion to reading, let alone to novels, has been worsening for years.” First, we should discuss why it is that boys feel that reading has little significance in their lives:

Fiction vs. non-fiction. Many English teachers, who also happen to be female, teach reading through works of fiction. Unfortunately, studies show that boys tend to relate better to non-fiction. Thus, during the formative reading years, children are exposed to reading materials that are better suited to one gender over the other.

Role models. Boys will often see their mothers reading on Shabbos afternoon or in the evenings, but many rarely see their fathers engaged in a book. This is not because their fathers do not read. Rather, frequently, this is because their fathers will be learning in shul or with a chavrusah – experiences that boys do not have until they are beyond the elementary stages of reading.

Biology. On the whole, boys develop fine motor skills (such as hand-eye coordination) slightly later than girls. This can create difficulty with reading and writing at a young age.

Limited selection. Teachers don’t always know what is out there for boys that will engage them on to interact with a text with empathy and sincerity. Schools tend to work with books that are classics because they will encounter less resistance from parents. However, this sometimes means that books that boys might find engaging never make it into the classroom.

Filling The Reading Gap

Why do we care so much about reading? Why is it important to get our boys reading to their greatest potential? The most basic reason is that reading is the most important skill that people have in order to enhance their intelligence. Through reading, people improve their vocabularies and memories, become better writers, and even relieve stress. On a more practical level, literacy levels are correlated with financial success. In sum, we need to ensure that our boys are reading because their lives will be more fulfilling, relaxed and comfortable.

Therefore, how can we help boys learn to read? Below are some time-tested solutions:

Instruction tailored to boys’ learning style. Teachers should create lessons that have clear, structured instruction with short bursts of intense work. When teachers set specific goals and praise students for their success, the boys will be more likely to push themselves in the future. In addition, hands-on learning models that are coupled with a sense of humor are great tools for getting boys involved in reading.

Role models. Young boys need to see male role models who are reading. Remember, any text is reading – including fathers studying Gemara at the dining room table after lunch on Shabbos or reading the newspaper on a weekday morning. The idea is that boys see their fathers reading and understand that this is an activity valued by both male and female role models.

Who Is Sandy?!

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

“Sandy gives New York a real thrashing!” screamed the headlines. “Hmmm, who exactly is Sandy and why is she thrashing New York,” I wonder. How about this one: (an exact quote) “For all those left homeless, for all those left scared and frightened, there is an enormous lesson from this hurricane – mother nature will do what she wants, when she wants, and our modern world can only bow before it.” Now I am really confused – who is this mother and why is she acting so mean – aren’t mothers supposed to be nice? And more so – what exactly is this “enormous” lesson? Why should I bow to her?

Baruch Hashem, we Torah abiding Jews know the truth. Even though the meteorologists have explained what brought about Hurricane Sandy and the post-tropical superstorm that resulted, we know the cause of all those factors. Hashem, the “Cause of all Causes,” orchestrated this great showing of His Power, and there was a reason for it. We do not have prophets who can tell us which one of the many sins of our world was the basis for the great punishment Hashem inflicted – nor is it our job to point fingers. We must share in the pain and suffering of those who experienced bodily harm or damage to their property, and offer whatever help possible. The outpouring of chesed seen in our communities created a great Kiddush Hashem and is definitely a great zechus for Klal Yisroel. On the other hand, the Gemara in Yevomos (63a) tells us that when punishment comes to the world it is to teach us a lesson. Let us suggest one possible lesson that Hashem was teaching us when He sent Sandy to the East Coast.

The Downside Of Modern Technology

Rav Aryeh Leib Kahn (Rosh Kollel Yad Halevi Kiryat Sefer) once pointed out that with the rapid advancement of modern technology we are in danger of becoming distanced from Hashem. For example, before the advent of cell phones, if you traveled out of town, and suddenly started to worry that perhaps you forgot to turn off the fire under a pot, there was nothing to do other than daven to Hashem that everything will be okay. But now, all you need to do is whip out your cell, call the neighbor and ask them to make sure the fire is out!

The more technology we have, the more we can chas v’sholom, forget Hashem. With our heated and (supposedly) waterproof homes, fitted with gas, electricity, and running water, we feel prepared. This mindset is the antithesis to the reason for our existence, as Hashem created us to become close to Him. The more trust we put in our own actions, the further we become from Hashem. To save us from this serious error and its dreadful results, once in a while Hashem sends us a reminder that He is the one in charge. Sometimes the wakeup call is on a small scale, to an individual in his own private life – and sometimes, like now, it is an extremely painful one to a larger community.

What Can We Put Our Trust In?

In the “olden days,” when night fell, the day ended. But in the modern day, that has changed. Everywhere we go, bright lights make it seem like daytime – we feel that we have conquered the darkness. When we are suddenly thrown into pitch-blackness, we realize that Hashem is the one who is lighting up our nights. When we cannot use all our electric powered appliances and devices, we realize how vulnerable we really are. When a tree comes crashing down on two pedestrians the day after the storm, we remember that we only make it home safely because Hashem is protecting us. And when ferocious winds, which sound like a freight train rattling through the empty streets, hurl objects through the air, we realize what it would be like if Hashem were not usually holding back those winds. When the temperatures begin to drop and the heat does not work, we see that we have no control over the cold. And taking cold showers certainly is not pleasant.

But the lessons don’t stop there. Hashem wanted to show us that He is always “ahead of the game.” Many people weren’t scared of power outages because they had generators to produce their own electricity. But even that doesn’t always help. In some places, the generator was flooded and stopped working. In others, due to the gasoline shortage, there isn’t fuel to power the generator! Many felt secure with their cell phones – they would be affecting by down phone lines – and then the cell phone services were disrupted because cell towers were down.

Daf Yomi

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Children And Corpses
‘A Body Lying In The Sun…’
(Shabbos 43b)

As a general rule, functionless items (i.e., non-utensils which are not designated for any use), such as stones and broken utensils, are muktzah on Shabbos and may not be moved. These types of items belong to a category of muktzah called “muktzah machmas gufo” – inherently muktzah. A human corpse is included in this category and may not be moved on Shabbos except under certain conditions.

A Loaf Of Bread And Kavod Ha’mes

The Gemara on our daf states that if a dead person is lying in the sun on Shabbos and in danger of decaying, it is permissible to move him or her via means of a loaf of bread or a child. That is, one should place either the loaf of bread or child on top of the corpse. Doing so permits one to carry the corpse (since there is a non-muktzah item on top of it). Our sages permitted this action only because they were concerned for kavod ha’mes, the dignity of the deceased.

A Moment’s Interruption

The source for this leniency is, as the Gemara explains (supra 30b), the story of David Hamelech’s death. David knew he would die on a Shabbos and therefore engaged in Torah study ceaselessly every Shabbos in order to keep the Angel of Death at bay. However, one Shabbos, as he was sitting in his garden studying, the Angel of Death caused the trees to stir, whereupon David ascended a ladder to investigate the source of the noise. As he was ascending, the ladder broke causing him to fall to his death. Shlomo Hamelech, seeing his father lying out in the sun and worried his corpse would begin to decay, sent for the Sages, asking them what to do. They replied that he may move the corpse, albeit only after placing either a loaf of bread or child upon it.

The Ran (novella, ad loc.) explains that the Sages did not mean that only a loaf of bread or child may be utilized in a case like this. Rather, any non-muktzah object is acceptable.

What About The Bed?

Rabbi Akiva Eiger (novella, ad loc.) reasons that if all non-muktzah objects are acceptable, the bed of the deceased should suffice. Why, then, does the Gemara state that a child or loaf of bread is necessary? The Rashash answers that a corpse’s bed is not sufficient because it is considered tafel – a subordinate object to the deceased.

His Clothing?

Interestingly, the Mordechai (siman 312 and cited by the Mechaber, Orach Chayim 311:4) opines that in the event that the corpse is clothed, there is no need for any other non-muktzah object since the clothing serves the same purpose that a child or loaf of bread would.

The Beis Yosef (to the Tur, O.C. 311), however, argues that a corpse’s clothing is subordinate to the deceased and can never be considered a substitute for a child or loaf of bread.

The She’lah (cited by Ba’er Heitev, Orach Chayim 311, sk11) adduces proof for the Beis Yosef’s position from the incident concerning David Hamelech’s death (as cited above). The Gemara relates that he collapsed on Shabbos when he momentarily interrupted his Torah study. Clearly he was dressed at the time. Nevertheless, Shlomo was instructed to place either a loaf of bread oa child on his father’s body before moving it out of the sun. According to the Mordechai, placing a child or loaf of bread should not have been required since David was clothed at that moment.

Rules For Royalty

In defense of the Mordechai, the Magen Avraham (Orach Chayim 311, sk16) argues that David Ha’Melech’s situation was different in light of the Gemara in Sanhedrin 52b which states that a king’s clothing and personal effects are burned after his death (because it would be considered disrespectful to the king if they were subsequently used by ordinary people). Since the king’s clothing was prohibited for use by others, they were muktzah. Therefore, the fact that David was clothed was not sufficient, and it was necessary to place a loaf of bread or child on him.

Parshat Chayei Sarah

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

In his book, Thirteen Days (1968), Robert Kennedy publicized the inner workings of the Kennedy White House during the terrible days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He described how the President’s special advisory group, known as ExComm, debated the options available to defuse the crisis in light of the intelligence presented to them. Fortunately, JFK and his advisors managed to avoid a nuclear showdown with the Soviet Union and compelled Khrushchev to withdraw his missiles from Cuba. For many who have studied this crisis the story ends on day 13 when the Soviet Union agreed to remove its weapons. However, David G. Coleman in his new book, The Fourteenth Day (2012), argues that the story did not quite end there. In fact, an entirely new chapter began on day 14.

The challenge facing Kennedy on that day, and in the subsequent months, was how to ensure that the Soviet Union kept the agreement. Coleman explained that, “One issue stood out as the most urgent: verifying that Khrushchev was following through in having the missiles removed. It was not an easy problem. It hinged on a fundamental issue notably lacking in the U.S.-Soviet relationship: trust. How could Americans be sure that they weren’t being duped? Might it all be some kind of devilish trick, buying time for the Soviet nuclear forces in Cuba to be readied for action” (p.36).

Over the next several months various agreements were achieved, ultimately ensuring the removal of the missiles and Soviet combat troops from Cuba. But to achieve these agreements Kennedy had to go through many hoops and juggle many different constituencies and pressures. He had to address the military’s concerns, he had to convince the American people that he was not compromising their security for the sake of a diplomatic deal, he had to confront the partisan pressures and accusations from his opposition in Congress, and he had to seal a deal with the Soviet Union that would actually decrease tension permanently, thus lessening the chance of a recurring crisis.

Kennedy understood a fundamental aspect of leadership. Success without follow-up is not success. If gains are not consolidated they will evaporate quickly. The essence of this week’s parsha illustrates the importance of this truism. Prior to the events recorded in Chayei Sarah we witnessed Avraham changing the world through feats of international renown. In Lech Lecha he emigrated from his homeland to the Land of Israel. During his journey he and Sarah spread monotheism and taught people how to lead an upright life. In Vayeira we were overwhelmed by Avraham’s defeating an international coalition of the greatest military powers of his day. He then argued with Hashem to spare the lives of the citizens of Sedom. Finally, he was prepared to offer his son Yitzchak as a sacrifice to G-d. These events are certainly worthy of note. Yet when we read Chayei Sarah we seem to leave the world of front page news and move to what at best seems like the human interest section. We see Avraham purchasing a grave for his wife and mourning her. We then spend the bulk of the parsha learning how Avraham, through the services of his loyal servant Eliezer, finds a wife for Yitzchak. We conclude with Avraham’s relatively quiet retirement and passing.

This contrast begs the question: What is the real message of Chayei Sarah? Rav Moshe Feinstein in his work of Torah insights, Derash Moshe, suggests an explanation that sheds light on this issue. Rav Moshe questions why the Gemara in Avodah Zarah (9a) claims that with Avraham, the two thousand year period of Torah learning began, when, in fact, there were others who prior to Avraham taught Torah as well. Rav Moshe answers that Avraham revolutionized Torah learning. Torah scholars prior to Avraham, such as Shem and Aver, taught Torah, but only to those people who were self-motivated enough to seek out Torah on their own and who were willing to commit totally to a Torah way of life. Avraham, on the other hand, circulated among the people, encouraging them to join the ranks of Torah learners and explaining that every commitment made to Torah, no matter how incremental, is important and a critical step forward. It is for this reason, Rav Moshe claims, that Avraham is credited with the real beginning of Torah learning. Through Avraham’s actions the Torah achieved a permanent place in peoples’ consciousness.

Shabbos – A Day With Hashem

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Step 1: Revealing Hashem’s Presence

When we put away our sukkak and machzorim over a month ago, many of us let out a sigh wishing that these wonderful days of simcha and closeness to Hashem would never end. But in truth Hashem does not want it to be Yom Tov all year long. He wants us to take what we received during those special days and integrate it into our daily life. It sounds nice, but how are we supposed to do that? The answer is through Shabbos! This wonderful day, which comes every week, has the ability to lift us once again to those same spiritual heights and help us recharge our batteries for the coming week.

This raises a difficult question. Why is it that many people don’t experience that special intensity on Shabbos as they do on Yom Tov? One reason may be that they are missing the preparation. Like all of Yiddishkeit, the more you effort you put into something, the more you will get out of it. Because Yomim Tovim occur only a few times a year, we put special effort into understanding them and therefore receive more in return. However, Shabbos, which comes so often, remains an untouched topic for many people. They don’t know the meaning of Shabbos and certainly don’t know how to tap into it.

This can be seen from the Gemara in Masechtas Shabbos (10b): “Hashem told Moshe – I have a wonderful present in my treasure house and its name is Shabbos. Go tell Klal Yisroel about it.” Why did He have to tell them how special it is – when Shabbos arrives won’t they realize it for themselves? The only way to feel the kedusha of Shabbos is by understanding Shabbos and why it is special.

Let us embark on a fascinating voyage through the world of Shabbos. In this series of articles we will be’ezras Hashem touch on some of the important and intriguing aspects of this multi-faceted day. Hopefully this will make Shabbos an experience we and our families will look forward to every week.

We begin by clarifying what Shabbos is. Every Yom Tov gives us a special gift to take throughout the year. On Rosh Hashana we add to our yiras Sshamayim – fear of heaven; on Yom Kippur, we are given repentance; on Sukkos, simcha; and on Shavuos, the Torah. What do we receive from Shabbos?

The Darkness Of This World

Rav Shimshon Pinkus zt”l explains that in reality, when we look around at the world, we should be immediately overcome with love and fear of Hashem, as the Rambam says (Yesodei Hatorah 2:2): “How does one come to love and fear Hashem? When a person examines all of Hashem’s amazing and huge creations and sees the astounding wisdom which is endless, he is immediately overcome with love of Hashem and praises and glorifies Him … and he will have an extreme desire to know more about the Great Hashem…. And when he thinks about these things he immediately will jump back and be filled with fear and trepidation as he realizes how he is such a small and lowly creature standing with such puny intelligence in front of the One with Perfect Intellect.” So why don’t we also feel this way? The Gemara in Bava Metziyah (83b) reveals the answer.

“‘Ta’shes choshech va’yehee l’ayla – darkness settles and it is night’ (Tehillim 104:20) – the night refers to this world (the physical world), which is compared to night.” We learn from here that Hashem has placed a great darkness in this world that hides His presence. Our job is to repel this darkness, and thus see Hashem everywhere. During the week this is a difficult task, as we are involved with worldly pursuits, such as earning a living and taking care of our needs.

Shvisa – Putting Everything on Halt

On Shabbos, though, everything stops, and it is much easier to reach this goal. We do not involve ourselves in any activities of production, so much so that the Shulchan Aruch (306:8) tells us that on Shabbos we must view all our work as finished. The reason: Shabbos is “M’ein Olam Haba” – a preview of the World-to-Come. In Olam Haba we will be exclusively involved in the greatest pleasure – basking in Hashem’s Glory. Nothing else will exist besides Hashem and us. Shabbos is similar, but on a smaller scale. The King comes to spend time with us, and we therefore gladly remove ourselves from all other activities. We must cook and bake before Shabbos, because once the Guest has arrived we want to spend all our time with Him. And Hashem’s presence is everywhere. Every second of the day should be a reminder that it is Shabbos. We walk differently, talk differently and prepare food differently. In the street we do not carry (if there is no eiruv) and we do not drive. And most of all – we cut ourselves off from the world! We turn off our BlackBerries and iPhones, and we are left only with Hashem. Now the darkness of the world is just a thin wrapper, which can easily be removed.

Jacqueline Nicholls: New Works

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

JCC Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Avenue at 76th Street: Laurie M. Tisch Gallery
Call for hours
Through November 1 – www.jccmanhattan.org; 646-505-4444
Jacquelinenicholls.com

Jacqueline Nicholls, a Jewish artist from England, presents us with a formidable challenge. Namely, what is the role of a contemporary Jewish Woman artist and how does one confront patriarchal dominance? She presents her response to both queries in her current exhibition at the JCC Manhattan, beautifully curated by Tobi Kahn and organized by Tisch Gallery director Megan Whitman. The results are breathtakingly forceful, subtle and insightful.

For Nicholls a Jewish woman must be armed with a deep and abiding knowledge of Torah, Tanach and Talmud, hand in hand, if she so chooses, with an artistic immersion in what has been called the Feminine Crafts, i.e. the fabric arts and traditional “Women’s Work.” This Jewish artist affirms that she must be especially articulate in Jewish texts to practice a “counter-voice to turn the narrative” and indeed that is what she does both in her choice of subject and exposition thereof. Her explorations are exhilarating.

The exhibition has three components: “Gather the Broken,” meditations on the Omer; “The Kittel Collection,” studies of a ritual garment and “Ghosts & Shadows,” considerations of women in Talmud.

The series of 49 omer meditations explore the multiple aspects of loss that the days between Passover and Shavuos engender. As an aspect of the semi-mourning that the omer demands, Nicholls looked to the minutia of her daily existence for inspiration. Her emphasis on that which is broken reflects, “only by acknowledging the broken, imperfect aspects of daily life [can]… creativity and a new life can be revealed.” This new and renewed life is of course accomplished on Shavous in the acceptance of the Torah at Sinai. This year she created a series of small drawings, one on each day of the Omer and posted on her blog, accompanied by the poetic commentary of Amichai Lau-Lavie. The strength of these drawings, aside from the pure skill of her draftsmanship, is that Nicholls manages to totally personalize the obsessive ritual of omer counting in a way that internalizes both the ritual and the meaning of each individual day even while making a unified work of art. This asserts a uniquely Jewish notion that from brokenness creativity arises.

The kittel is a ritual garment that cloaks us in white in the effort to convince ourselves that we can actually be “white,” as Isaiah (1:18) proclaims that; “Come, now let us reason together, says Hashem. If your sins are like scarlet they will become white as snow.” So too are the other times when we use the kittel – to bury, to marry, to pray on Yom Kippur or lead the congregation on momentous occasions. We don the costume of purity in the effort to become pure. In a similar manner Nicholls has created a series of 10 garments based on the kittel template to explore how a garment can be used to transform meaning and identity in the Jewish tradition.

The “Shame Kittel” is little more than a simple apron, stained black at the bottom edge and discolored a sickly yellow up around the neck. Buried in the yellow is an array of epithets used against the Jews by anti-Semites of all ages. What Nicholls is affirming is that an important part of Jewish identity is never forgetting what those who hate us say about us. Nonetheless a number of the other kittels are more positive, especially the “Majestic Kittel” and the “New Kittel.” The latter offers its seams stitched in gold and an embroidered label in gold with the Shehechayanuprayer, emphasizing our thankfulness to God for giving us new and beautiful things to wear.

Mourning Kittel (2012) cloth, wire by Jacqueline Nicholls
Courtesy JCC Manhattan

Perhaps the most moving kittel is the “Mourning Kittel,” as it transforms the shirt of mourning into a lurid expression of mourners’ emotions. Not surprisingly one of the sleeves is shredded from a frenzy of kriah, the mourners’ ritual tearing of garments. The collar is high and closed tight by a dense coil of metal wire around the neck, deeply expressive of the choking pain of loss. Finally in the center of the ragged garment, somewhere between the chest and stomach, the seams come together to form a hollow that sinks into the interior of the garment. It is as if this is where the pain of bereavement has burrowed into the very substance of the mourner. The symbolic power of this garment is awesome.

A Lifetime Guarantee

Friday, September 21st, 2012

I rarely take the extended warranty when purchasing new electronics. I figure that this warranty must not be worth much if they feel the need to pressure me into buying it. They must know what I have learned the hard way: there is no such thing as a real guarantee. In my more naive days, I purchased this “peace of mind,” as they call it, but never cashed in. Usually, by the time the item broke, I had forgotten about the extended warranty and purchased a replacement. Once I taped a copy of the extended warranty to the side of the copy machine so I would remember it could be replaced if it broke. Which it indeed did, and when I enthusiastically dragged the 60-pound machine to the store for my free replacement, they insisted I give them the original receipt. They refused to accept the photocopy of the receipt that I had responsibly filed away. It seems that page four of the warranty states that the original receipt was required. I had neglected to read the pages of rules that accompanied by original purchase. The lesson was clear. If I were to purchase another extended warranty, I would have to bring a lawyer to the store to read and interpret the fine print. Since a replacement machine is probably cheaper than legal fees, I now make do without this costly and fruitless purchase.

On Yom Kippur we can get a warranty from Hashem with no complicated fine print. On Yom Kippur, we are offered the guarantee for a year of life and blessing, with no need to incur legal fees. We can all sign up for this great offer. However, in order to understand this amazing deal from our Creator, we must obtain some insight into the nature of teshuvah.

Whose fault is it when things go wrong? In general, we don’t like to accept blame. We prefer to blame others or to rationalize our actions. Chazal tell us that when we repeatedly sin, the sins become habits; they become part of who we are, and it becomes very difficult to change the patterns of sin. The Gemara (Avodah Zarah 17) tells us of Eliezer ben Durdiya who had become a habitual sinner. When he decided to repent, Eliezer sat between two mountains and asked them to request mercy for him. They responded that they must request mercy for themselves. In turn, he proceeded to ask the Heaven and earth, the sun, moon, and stars, each responded that it must first request mercy for itself. He finally realized that it was up to him to ask for mercy, whereupon he put his head between his knees and cried until his soul left him. A voice from Heaven declared, “R’ Eliezer ben Durdiya is destined for the World to Come” (without need for Gehinom). Some explain that we learn from this story that even a habitual sinner can change his ultimate direction in life as long as he realizes that he himself is ultimately responsible to change his attitude or actions. When Eliezer ben Durdiya cried out to the two mountains, some explain that the mountains represented his parents, whom he blamed for his current situation. When he cried to the other forces of nature, he was blaming his teachers, friends, or boss. It wasn’t until he assumed personal responsibility for his actions that was he capable of real change, to the extent that his repentance erased a lifetime of serious sin and gained him admission to the World to Come.

The Rambam tell us that there is a serious type of sinner called “minnim,” who “stray after the thoughts of their hearts, concerning themselves with foolish matters… until they ultimately transgress against the body of the Torah arrogantly, with scorn, with the intent of provoking Hashem’s anger, and yet say that there is no sin involved.” At the moment a person sins he does not feel the presence of Hashem, as that alone would prevent him from sinning. We may know that we are wrong, but we easily blame our faults on other people, stress, or the desire for the pleasure involved. The classic example is the person who awakens in middle of the night to get a drink of water. As he passes through the dark kitchen, he trips over a chair, stubs his toe, and jumps up and down in pain. It does not occur to him that his injury occurred because he was not careful or too lazy to turn on the light. After he takes his drink, he passes by the same chair and painfully stubs his toe again. He hops up and down and screams at the stupid chair as if the furniture has a life of its own and deliberately meandered into his path. This explains why a person who gets angry is compared to one who worships idols, since anger makes a person imbue life and power into inanimate objects. Here he gave life and power to the inanimate chair that hurt him with its dastardly actions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/torah/a-lifetime-guarantee/2012/09/21/

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