The great medieval Jewish poet and philosopher Judah Halevi wrote a poem about the Land of Israel which begins with this line: “My heart is in the East, yet I remain [physically] in the furthest point West.” This sums up how I feel about Israel. This feeling has intensified over the last few weeks as Israel faces some of the most serious challenges of its short life-span. The question I have asked myself over and over again is what can I do to help?
Often, we go through life without realizing that we are coasting. All of the functions of life seem to be working, yet we are not really participating. In a sense, we become spectators in the game of life. There are those who live their entire life this way.
What does it take to wake us up to the potentiality of a life fulfilled and well lived? What this really requires is spiritual awakening of sorts. In the Torah, there are a few passages that shed light on this phenomenon. As the Israelites wandered the desert, God commanded them to take a lamb and offer it as a Paschal (Passover) sacrifice. Those, however, that were unable to bring the sacrifice in the allotted time either because they were impure or because they were out of the vicinity complained to Moses about it, and asked, "Why should we be excluded so as not to bring the offering of the Lord in its appointed time, with all the children of Israel?” (Numbers 9:6 - 10).
Philosophers, theologians and lay people from time immemorial have been troubled by questions relating to the meaning and purpose of all things.
We humans tend to think that if we don’t know the meaning of something, it is meaningless. If we don’t know the purpose of an object, we believe that it lacks a purpose. Yet, we have all had the experience of discarding something one day, only to find out a couple of days later that we threw away something of great importance. The error, of course, was that we thought that because we did not know the purpose of the object, that it had no purpose. The truth, however, is that not knowing the utility of something does not translate into not any utility.
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, is the new bestseller by Michael Lewis. It shows in minute detail how investors investors have been consistently ripped off by big Wall Street banks. The crux of the issues is that brokers is that the incentives of investors and brokers are not aligned. In fact Wall Street firms are incentivized to act in their own best interests rather than in those of their clients. As a result, IEX, a new stock exchange that works in the best interests of clients has been created and so far has been extremely successful. Yet, as I read the book I recognized that this is not the only way in which the average guy is being ripped off.