Monday, November 23, 2009

Perfection, Pollard, and pet peeves


Jewish date:  6 Kislew 5770 (Parashath Wayyeṣe’).

Worthy cause of the day:  “To all US Jewish Organizations: Stand with the Land of Israel! Petition”.

Topic 1:  “ Why Barack is Becoming Boring”.  I am not sure Barack Obama has really become boring, and  if he really has, then perhaps it has something to do with the fact that he has been spending his time trying to clean up the gigantic mess left by the Bush administration and thus he does not have much time to spend on dazzle.  And I do not buy into notion that Obama is or has ever been perfect; I voted for him because I thought he would do a better job than John McCain.  While campaigning, Obama honestly admitted that mistakes would be made, and there is no doubt he has made some since.  And this is the point.  Rav Boteach correctly notes that the great figures of the Hebrew Bible are not perfect.  They have character flaws, and they make mistakes, often big ones.  Rather than ascribing greatness to them because of perfection, they are great despite their imperfection.  And this makes them better role models for it.  None of us can hope to become perfect.  But if someone imperfect can become great and virtuous, then we, who are also imperfect, at least have a fighting chance of also becoming great and virtuous.

Topic 2:  “Time for a new attitude in the Pollard case”.  This article is on a major anti-Semitic tragedy in the United States, the continued incarceration of Jonathan Pollard.  Pollard has been jailed for 25 years for passing to Israel, a friendly country, information which the United States was obligated to share anyway.  Correctly noted is that his life sentence is out of all proportion to what other spies—spies for hostile nations—have received and that it was given through government misconduct.  This article ties the life sentence into American coddling of Arab pseudo-allies, such as Saddam Hussein, none of which has done the US any good.  I will not believe any US president, Democrat or Republican, really has the good of Israel and the Jews in mind until he/she pardons Pollard.

Topic 3:  “Top Ten Nazir Pet Peeves”.  This is Jewish religious humor, and it really helps if you know what a nazir is.  The rest of the references are left as an exercise to the reader.


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