Land’s End– “Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman

illustration by Avi Katz
“Man, this is the life!” I say as I lean back in my empyreanite chair and stretch my legs and arms out as far as they can go. My Talmud is open in front of me, Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” is wafting through the beit midrash, and a cool, balmy breeze wafts through the ether.

My eternal havruta, Shimon Bar Kappara, eyes me from over the top of the large volume of Tractate Sotah that he’s holding up in front of him so as to hide the smaller volume he’s really reading.

“I hate to break this to you,” he says. “But you are neither a man, nor do you have a life.”

“Don’t be such a cynic,” I sigh. “Although I do miss a good cup of really strong Turkish coffee. Nectar just doesn’t do it for me.”

Bar Kappara’s eyes swing left, then right. He reaches into his robe, pulls out a small jar, and pushes it toward me.

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Theology Watch

Haim Watzman

My sister Nancy once worked for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, a project that tracks where legislators get their money from and how it affects their votes.

But Congress seems to be in danger no less from bad theology as bad money. Yesterday she referred me to this incredible video of Rep. John Shimkus, who represents a huge chunk of southern Illinois. Shimkus believes that, because God promised Noah that he would not destroy the world again, we don’t need to do anything about global warming.

Note that Shimkus segues without blinking from God’s promise that He will not destroy the world into the odd idea that therefore mankind is incapable of destroying the world on its own. That’s sloppy theology.

Maimonides would not have made such a ridiculous mistake had he been elected to Congress.

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