Friday, March 16, 2012


22 Adar, 5772
March 16th, 2012

It’s been a big few weeks for the pundits and talking heads. As the presidential election draws closer, as Israel’s concerns about Iran skyrocket, there’s been plenty to talk about.

What irks me, as the tensions rise, are the kinds of people to whom we’ve chosen to listen, as they pontificate on our nation’s and people’s woes.

The prophet’s primary definition has been misplaced somewhere in the crevasse of modern parlance. A prophet’s first job is to yell at his or her own people, to the group to which s/he belongs. Prophets are the expression of our internal voice of conscience. So why is it that all we hear are people yelling at the other guy?

The Limbaughs and the Olbermanns, the Frankens and the Pragers – all these pundits direct their energies solely towards the other. Towards those like them, and especially regarding their own sacred persons, they have nothing but pristine confidence.

Our Torah does not admire intelligence in place of wisdom, nor glibness in the stead of humility. One of the great questions of the Talmud is, “Who in this generation is worthy of giving criticism?” The manner and method of those to whom we give a platform is of vital importance.

If we could change the world in small, but substantive ways, let one change be this: that we enshrine in our culture those whose criticism we need to hear, not only those who criticize on our behalf.

“A wise person accepts discipline. One who hates criticism is a fool.” Proverbs 12:1

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