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Monkeys and apes are generally symbols of base passion, particularly lust, in Western art. Giovanni Battista Foggini's 17th century bronze sculpture "The Fall of Man" shows not only the serpent dangling from the Tree of Knowledge tempting Adam and Eve, but also a monkey seated behind the tree eating an apple. Foggini may have gotten the idea from Jan Brueghel the Elder, whose 1612 painting "Garden of Eden" features a monkey prominently, or from a c. 1410 "The Garden of Eden" by an unknown artist in Frankfurt. A century earlier, Martin Luther had famously referred to Satan as "God's ape," building upon the then-popular view of monkeys as unintelligent animals that simply mimicked primitive human behavior.
My oldest daughter recently celebrated her nineteenth birthday, and I'm just now getting used to the idea that my husband and I are heading into a new parsha in our lives: Getting ready to find a shidduch for our daughter. So it wasn't any wonder that the topic came up when I ran into an old friend at shul the other day.
You're cooking or cleaning and the radio is on in the background to keep you company. You really are not listening and have no idea what's being said, but suddenly "Israel" is mentioned and you rush over, turn up the volume and listen. How does that happen? What made you hear that word? What made you pay attention, while you had ignored the thousands of other words that might have been said in the minutes before? More importantly, how can we get that to work for us and make us happier?
Over the past few weeks, I've become an improved Jew. I learn more, say more brachos, bench more, and didn't have a problem remembering the day in the Omer. I haven't been to Israel recently, didn't have a near death experience that reawakened my spiritual side, nor did I feel empty in my life and decided I needed to search for more meaning. So what caused this recent growth spurt in my Judaism? I got an iPod touch.
Rabbi Horowitz, As parents, we often see that our children have talents that are outside the classic Mitzvah realm. This could be in the area of art, gymnastics, musical instruments, etc. Often times, development of these talents require time, money and sometimes exposure that we would generally not encourage. How does one decide when this is a good idea (or at least necessary) and when these activities are a distraction from spiritual pursuits?
Social conservatives constantly bemoan the erosion of traditional family life and morality. In their view, narcissism and materialism plague the American landscape.
With the economy heading south, we are all looking for ways to cut back on our expenses. I guess that's good news for Motel 6, pawnshops and "Dollar Stores," but it's a pretty lousy development for anyone running a nonprofit organization (like me) because practically everyone except bankruptcy attorneys earns less money in times like these. Less money means less charity giving. Gulp!
Dear Rabbi Horowitz: We find ourselves faced with an increasingly challenging experience each year when midwinter break comes around. Some of our children's friends go on expensive vacations with their families, and our kids are asking us to send them on similar trips. Our children are respectful whenever they discuss this with us, but there is a clear sense that they feel "left out" because they don't go to the exotic location like some of their friends.
New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Steven Erlanger is so openly pro-Palestinian in his reporting that he’s beginning to call to mind perhaps his most biased predecessor in that post – the truly execrable Deborah Sontag, whose transparently one-sided dispatches would invariably read as though she wrote them with a PLO flag draped over her word processor.
While some ideas are foolish but harmless, others are not only incorrect but also corrosively destructive.
Sitting stiffly on the very throne from which Pharaoh would later deny G-d and His children's freedom, Joseph surveyed his brothers bowing before him.