Once, [Rabbi Chanoch] Teller was traveling with 16 of his  offspring... while changing planes in Frankfurt, Teller noticed a German woman gaping. 'Are all of these your children?' the woman asked. 'From one wife?' 'Yes, God has blessed me with all these children, ' the rabbi replied. 'Haven't you heard about the population problem?'the woman sniffed. 'How many more children do you want to have?' Rabbi Teller paused and looked the woman in the eye: 'About 6 million, ' he said.
The Talmud tells a story about a great Rabbi who is dying, he has become a goses, but he cannot die because outside all his students are praying for him to live and this is distracting to his soul. His maidservant climbs to the roof of the hut where the Rabbi is dying and hurls a clay vessel to the ground. The sound diverts the students, who stop praying. In that moment, the Rabbi dies and his soul goes to heaven. The servant, too, the Talmud says, is guaranteed her place in the world to come.
Every universe, our own included, begins in conversation. Every golem in the history of the world, from Rabbi Hanina's delectable goat to the river-clay Frankenstein of Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, was summoned into existence through language, through murmuring, recital, and kabbalistic chitchat - was, literally, talked into life.
I once asked a rabbi in a large congregation which prayers he used with the dying. "You mean the Mourner's Kaddish?" he asked, referring to the prayer recited on behalf of the deceased. "No, " I replied. "I mean the prayers said when a person is actually dying." "Oh, " he replied. "I don't know. I've never seen anyone die." He had been a congregational rabbi for almost twenty years. "I only get called when it's time to do the funeral, " he explained. Clearly there is much to learn within our traditional religious communities.
There's a lovely Hasidic story of a rabbi who always told his people that if they studied the Torah, it would put Scripture on their hearts. One of them asked, "Why on our hearts, and not in them?" The rabbi answered, "Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading sacred text can put it on your heart, and then when your hearts break, the holy words will fall inside.
A Great Rabbi stands, teaching in the marketplace. It happens that a husband finds proof that morning of his wife's adultery, and a mob carries her to the marketplace to stone her to death. There is a familiar version of this story, but a friend of mine - a Speaker for the Dead - has told me of two other Rabbis that faced the same situation. Those are the ones I'm going to tell you. The Rabbi walks forward and stands beside the woman. Out of respect for him the mob forbears and waits with the stones heavy in their hands. 'Is there any man here,' he says to them, 'who has not desired another man's wife, another woman's husband?' They murmur and say, 'We all know the desire, but Rabbi none of us has acted on it.' The Rabbi says, 'Then kneel down and give thanks that God has made you strong.' He takes the woman by the hand and leads her out of the market. Just before he lets her go, he whispers to her, 'Tell the Lord Magistrate who saved his mistress, then he'll know I am his loyal servant.' So the woman lives because the community is too corrupt to protect itself from disorder. Another Rabbi. Another city. He goes to her and stops the mob as in the other story and says, 'Which of you is without sin? Let him cast the first stone.' The people are abashed, and they forget their unity of purpose in the memory of their own individual sins. 'Someday,' they think, 'I may be like this woman. And I'll hope for forgiveness and another chance. I should treat her as I wish to be treated.' As they opened their hands and let their stones fall to the ground, the Rabbi picks up one of the fallen stones, lifts it high over the woman's head and throws it straight down with all his might it crushes her skull and dashes her brain among the cobblestones. 'Nor am I without sins,' he says to the people, 'but if we allow only perfect people to enforce the law, the law will soon be dead - and our city with it.' So the woman died because her community was too rigid to endure her deviance. The famous version of this story is noteworthy because it is so startlingly rare in our experience. Most communities lurch between decay and rigor mortis and when they veer too far they die. Only one Rabbi dared to expect of us such a perfect balance that we could preserve the law and still forgive the deviation. So of course, we killed him. -San Angelo Letters to an Incipient Heretic
Orson Scott Card
Christians often ask why God does not speak to them, as he is believed to have done in former days. When I hear such questions, it always makes me think of the rabbi who asked how it could be that God often showed himself to people in the olden days whereas nowadays nobody ever sees him. The rabbi replied: "Nowadays there is no longer anybody who can bow low enough." This answer hits the nail on the head. We are so captivated by and entangled in our subjective consciousness that we have forgotten the age-old fact that God speaks chiefly through dreams and visions. The Buddhist discards the world of unconscious fantasies as useless illusions; the Christian puts his Church and his Bible between himself and his unconscious; and the rational intellectual does not yet know that his consciousness is not his total psyche.
In mid-career, I was at one and the same time the rabbi of a major congregation, writing books, and teaching at Columbia. I didn't spend enough time with my children. Now, when I get an all-important call, I sometimes say that I'm having lunch with my granddaughter. And I do not apologize
We had no religion at all, but we were Jews in New Hampshire, and my sister - who is now a rabbi - said it best: We were, like, the only Jews in Bedford, New Hampshire, as well as the only Democrats, so we just kind of associated those two things together. My dad raised us to believe that paying taxes is an honor.
The illusion of the seventh veil was the illusion that you could get somebody else to do it for you. To think for you. To hang on your cross. The priest, the rabbi, the imam, the swami, the philosophical novelist were traffic cops, at best. They might direct you through a busy intersection, but they wouldn't follow you home and park your car.
My mom, for most of her life, was a Holocaust denier. And it was terrible for the entire family to have to deal with until, finally, a couple years ago, we had an intervention. And we had a rabbi come into the home, had him walk her through the history of the Jewish people, and then he made her watch "Schindler's List." And after that, my mom did a complete 180. Now she can't believe it only happened once.
How one in the modern world views Jesus's miraculous actions is irrelevant. All that can be known is how the people of his time viewed them. And therein lies the historical evidence. For while debates raged within the early church over who Jesus was-a rabbi? the messiah? God incarnate?-there was never any debate, either among his followers or his detractors, about his role as an exorcist and miracle worker.
You will reply that reality hasn't the slightest need to be of interest. And I'll answer you that reality may avoid the obligation to be interesting, but that hypotheses may not. In the hypothesis you have postulated, chance intervenes largely. Here lies a dead rabbi; I should prefer a purely rabbinical explanation; not the imaginary mischances of an imaginary robber.
Jorge Luis Borges
The sign work of the Orient it runneth up and down; The Talmud stalks from right to left, a rabbi in a gown; The Roman rolls from left to right from Maytime unto May; But the gods shake up their symbols in an absent-minded way. Their language runs to circles like the language of the eyes, Emphasised by strange dilations with little panting sighs.
The Frankenstein of Communism is the product of the Jewish mind, and was turned loose upon the world by the son of a Rabbi, Karl Marx, in the hopes of destroying Christian civilization - as well as others. The testimony given before the Senate of the United States which is take from the many pages of the Overman Report, reveals beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jewish bankers financed the Russian Revolution.
It is not the thinker who is the true king of men, as we sometimes hear it proudly said. We need one who will not only show, but be the Truth; who will not only point, but open and be the way; who will not only communicate thought, but give, because He is the Life. Not the rabbi's pulpit, nor the teacher's desk, still less the gilded chairs of earthly monarchs, least of all the tents of conquerors, are the throne of the true king. He rules from the cross.
In the end of the day it matters much more how wise you spent your money than how much of it you have gathered. Because the most important tool to measure your financial maturity is based uniquely on the first part of the question and the ability to keep money is more important than the ability to make money. Rabbi Celso Cukierkorn
The biblical passage which says of Abraham and the three visiting angels: "And He stood over them under the tree and they did eat" is interpreted by Rabbi Zusya to the effect that man stands above the angels, because he knows something unknown to them, namely, that eating may be hallowed by the eater's intention.... Any natural act, if hallowed, leads to God, and nature needs man for what no angel can perform on it, namely, its hallowing.
Jesus represents a point of common ground an esteemed rabbi to the Jew, a god to the Hindu, an enlightened one to the Buddhist, a great prophet to the Muslim. Even to the New Age guru, Jesus is the pinnacle of God-consciousness. At the same time, Jesus is the divider. None but Christians see Him as a member of the Godhead on an exclusive mission to repair the broken world.
That, " she said, "is a little closer to how I imagine it works. Whether or not you pray has absolutely nothing to do with the person to your left. It's like saying you shouldn't get the moon in your window, or else the other cars wouldn't get the moon in their windows. But everyone gets the moon. It's not an option, to not have the moon in your window. You just see it. It's there." She bit her lip. The window in the office grew golden with late afternoon. "Half the world can't see the moon, " said the doctor. "It's not the greatest example, " said the rabbi.
Think about that: at a time when it was inconceivable to have a woman rabbi or a woman scholar of Christian theology or canon law, the Islamic civilization boasted hundreds of women who were authorities in Islamic law and Islamic theology and that taught some of the most famous male jurists and left behind a remarkable corpus of writings.
Khaled Abou El Fadl
A disciple came to the celebrated Master of the Good Name with a question. "Rabbi, how are we to distinguish between a true master and a fake?" And the master of the good name said, "When you meet a person who poses as a master, ask him a question: whether he knows how to purify your thoughts. If he says that he knows, then he is a fake.
A disciple came to the celebrated Master of the Good Name with a question. 'Rabbi, how are we to distinguish between a true master and a fake?' And the master of the good name said, 'When you meet a person who poses as a master, ask him a question: whether he knows how to purify your thoughts. If he says that he knows, then he is a fake.
Raining. Oh, brother, a scratch on the fender. Damn rabbi on his unicycle. Wait a minute, where are my car keys? Could have sworn I left them in this pocket. No, just some loose change and ticket stubs from the all-black version of Elaine Stritch' s one-woman show. Did I check my desk? Better go back inside. What's in the top drawer here? Hmm. Envelopes, my paper clips, a loaded revolver in case the tenant in 2A begins yodelling again.
In the high school classroom you are a drill sergent, a rabbi, a shoulder to cry on, a disciplinarian, a singer, a low-level scholar, a clerk, a referee, a clown, a counselor, a dress-code enforcer, a conductor, an apologist, a philosopher, a collaborator, a tap dancer, a politician, a therapist, a fool, a traffic cop, a priest, a mother-father-brother-sister-uncle-aunt, a bookeeper, a critic, a psychologist, the last straw.
When I was three, I fell and I got Bell's palsy in my face. My mom said the first day she called the rabbi, and he said a prayer for me but nothing happened. The second day she called the Mormons, and they said a prayer for me and my face was healed, so my whole life was going around as a Jew who was giving talks in Mormon churches about being healed by the Mormons.
Everyone needs a spiritual guide: a minister, rabbi, counselor, wise friend, or therapist. My own wise friend is my dog. He has deep knowledge to impart. He makes friends easily and doesn't hold a grudge. He enjoys simple pleasures and takes each day as it comes. Like a true Zen master he eats when he is hungry and sleeps when he is tired. He's not hung up about sex. Best of all, he befriends me with an unconditional love that human beings would do well to imitate.
Gary A. Kowalski
All of us are lonely at some point or another, no matter how many people surround us. And then, we meet someone who seems to understand. She smiles, and for a moment the loneliness disappears. Add to that the effects of physical desire-and the excitement you spoke of-and all good sense and judgement fall away. The Rabbi paused, then said, But love founded only on loneliness and desire will die out before long. A shared history, tradition and values will link two people more thoroughly than any physical act.
I mean that certain fictions, chiefly Conan Doyle, Stevenson, but many others also, laid out a template that was more powerful than any local documentary account - the presences that they created, or "figures" if you prefer it, like Rabbi Loew's Golem, became too much and too fast to be contained within the conventional limits of that fiction. They got out into the stream of time, the ether; they escaped into the labyrinth. They achieved an independent existence. The writers were mediums; they articulated, they gave a shape to some pattern of energy that was already present. They got in on the curve of time, so that by writing, by holding off the inhibiting reflex of the rational mind, they were able to propose a text that was prophetic.
This is an organic religion. A religion of the people from heart to heart; a faith that finds the presence of the Divine within life, and nature, and ourselves. We don't have teachers and books because we are our own teachers, and our book is the sacred book of the Earth. We believe that we can connect with the God and Goddess and hear their voices, receive their inspiration directly and take responsibility for our own actions, without the intermediary of a pope or rabbi. We have a loose set of beliefs and morals and a ritual structure that is common to all Wiccans, but there is room for creativity and deep mystical experiences. This is a faith with roots as old as the earth. -Meri Fowler
I believe it is in the national interest that government stand side-by-side with people of faith who work to change lives for the better. I understand in the past, some in government have said government cannot stand side-by-side with people of faith. Let me put it more bluntly, government can't spend money on religious programs simply because there's a rabbi on the board, cross on the wall, or a crescent on the door. I viewed this as not only bad social policy - because policy by-passed the great works of compassion and healing that take place - I viewed it as discrimination.
George W. Bush
Jacopo, while I could still read, during these past months, I read dictionaries, I studied histories of words, to understand what was happening in my body. I studied like a rabbi. Have you ever reflected that the linguistic term `metathesis' is similar to the oncological term `metastasis'? What is the metathesis? Instead of `clasp' one says `claps.' Instead of `beloved' one says `bevoled.' It's the temurah. The dictionary says that metathesis means the transposition or interchange, while metastasis indicates the change and shifting. How stupid dictionaries are! The root is the same. Either it's the verb metatithemi or the verb methistemi. Metatithemi means I interpose, I shift, I transfer, I substitute, I abrogate a law, I change a meaning. And methistemi? It's the same thing: I move, I transform, I transpose, I switch cliches, I take leave of my senses. And as we sought secret meanings beyond the letter, we all took leave of our senses. And so did my cells, obediently, dutifully. That's why I'm dying, Jacopo, and you know it.
The apostle Paul often appears in Christian thought as the one chiefly responsible for the de-Judaization of the gospel and even for the transmutation of the person of Jesus from a rabbi in the Jewish sense to a divine being in the Greek sense. Such an interpretation of Paul became almost canonical in certain schools of biblical criticism during the nineteenth century, especially that of Ferdinand Christian Baur, who saw the controversy between Paul and Peter as a conflict between the party of Peter, with its 'Judaizing' distortion of the gospel into a new law, and the party of Paul, with its universal vision of the gospel as a message about Jesus for all humanity. Very often, of course, this description of the opposition between Peter and Paul and between law and gospel was cast in the language of the opposition between Roman Catholicism (which traced its succession to Peter as the first pope) and Protestantism (which arose from Luther's interpretation of the epistles of Paul). Luther's favorite among those epistles, the letter to the Romans, became the charter for this supposed declaration of independence from Judaism.