Rabbi Avi Weinstein

Archive for March 18th, 2009|Daily archive page

Betrayal is worse than murder????? For Dante yes, for Rambam, maybe not!

In Uncategorized on March 18, 2009 at 10:16 am

Dante thinks so, but Rambam sees it a little differently. Betrayal is particularly insidious because it can lead (my emphasis) to many deaths. He then offers Doag Ha’Adumi’s betrayal of David as an example.

The opposite of betrayal is loyalty. Tom Friedman points out that teachers in his and my county voted for a 5% pay cut from their 65k salaries so that programs would not be cut and teachers not be terminated. This is, I understand, not an isolated event, but one that is being repeated all over the country. I believe it is happening because the County has demonstrated good faith toward its employees and the employees trust that the county doesn’t have the money to honor their contracts. The employees also don’t want their constituents-their children–to suffer.

When polled about burnout teachers rarely put compensation at the top of their list of complaints. It’s usually the lack of opportunity for growth and development that is their primary concern.

I believe it is this behavior that will make the rains come. The Government should keep their promise to AIG and kick themselves for not reading the fine print, but the bonusees should show some loyalty and fidelity to their fellow citizens and give them up. Otherwise, who is going to have faith in anyone?

My mother is fond of saying, “You make your own luck.” The theological twist is that God will not (and from a Kabbalistic perspective, cannot) do His part until we do ours. We’re off to a really crappy start.

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What Makes The Rains Come

In Uncategorized on March 18, 2009 at 10:06 am

The Gemara in the Tractate of Ta’anit expresses the following sentiment:

The rains only come because of those who keep their promises.

The foundation of ethics is trust. The financial crisis boils down to nobody trusting the value of billions of dollars of assets, and, guess what, the rain is not coming.

As the Psalmist said:

Truth will flourish from the earth and righteousness will look over from the heavens.

The Talmud understands this as an “if then” clause. If truth flourishes from the earth then we will be looked after by the heavens. The metaphorical rains will fall.

It’s going to be a long season without rain. It’ll be scorchin’