One of the great advantages which many of us enjoy is that we often do not know what we have missed out on. Ignoti nulla cupido, “There is no desire for what is not known,” said Ovid in his Ars Amatoria. (111, i.397) This may sound rather strange, but when we look into our lives we realize that many people are able to be satisfied with their material lives because they do not fully realize or refuse to realize that they could have had more.
It has been our conviction, as stated in many of our other essays, that an unfaltering commitment towards human dignity is the foundation stone of Judaism. This is normally understood to mean that since Judaism includes many commandments in which man is asked to uphold and guarantee the dignity of his fellowman, it emphasizes God’s love and respect for man as one of the highest values.
One of the most unique talents which human beings are blessed with is the faculty of imagination. Unlike any other creature in the world, human beings have a nearly unlimited potential for constructive fantasy.
Judaism’s major enemy is the nation of Amalek. This nation is the personification of all evil, racism and Antisemitism. Amalek was seared into the Jewish consciousness as the first enemy the people of Israel encountered after the crossing of the Red Sea. The Amalekites attacked the Jews several times and brought much disaster and destruction. It was not only the fact that Amalek dared to fight the Israelites, but also the strategy which Amalek used which showed Amalek’s moral bankruptcy.
Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch, one of the great Jewish leaders and thinkers of modern times, asks us to take notice of a strange incident in the days of Moshe. After Moshe left Egypt with a multitude of people, his father-in-law, Yitro, criticized him for the way he was administrating the Israelites. “‘What is this that you are doing to the people? Why do you sit alone and all the people stand around you from morning until evening? And Moshe responded to his father-in-law: ‘It is because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they are solicitous about any matter they come before me, and I decide between one person and another, and I make known the laws and the teachings of God.’ But Moshe’s father-in-law said to him: ‘What you are doing is not right, you will surely wear yourself out and these people as well.'” (Shemoth 18:13-21)