Empathy is one of those fascinating qualities that human beings share with the animal world. What exactly is empathy? It’s the psychological capacity to relate to another person’s psychological frame of being. Empathy creates a psychological bridge between one sentient being and another. One of my early teachers taught me as a Kabbalistic insight that the Hebrew word regesh (“feeling”) is an anagram for gesher (“bridge”), for feelings are the bridge that ...
The just man knows the soul of his beast, but the heart of the wicked is merciless.
The author of Proverbs stresses an important ethical lesson: a humane person considers the needs of his animals and acts kindly towards them. The world of Creation is full of sentient beings, which also experience many of the joys and blessings that people commonly enjoy: like humankind, these creatures also experience pain. Suffering is a common language that ...
Debating Evolution in Israel
The United States is not the only place where creationists attempt to redesign the science curriculum in textbooks. Israel’s chief scientist in Israel’s ministry of education, Gavriel Avital, “sparked a furor” by questioning the reliability of evolution and global warming, leading to calls for his dismissal, according to Haaretz (Feb. 21, 2010).
Avital asserts, “If textbooks state explicitly that human beings’ origins are to be found with monkeys, I would want ...
For several decades now, many theological and secular ecological thinkers tend to blame the ecological woes of the planet on the Bible. Unfortunately, such a perspective comes from well-meaning people who seldom study the biblical teachings about ecology. By the same token, most ecological advocates are woefully unaware of what the Jewish and Christian traditions actually teach concerning the primacy of biblical stewardship.
Without belaboring the issue, here is one of my favorite midrashic teachings on the subject.
When the Holy One, ...