In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 3, 2009 11 Tamuz 5769

Will we never learn?

By Suzanne Fields

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What a fortnight this has been for observing the human animal in his natural habitat. We're reminded daily of the clay feet, the wounded psyches, the angst of the exploiters and the anger of the exploitees. Their behavior runs the table, from naive foibles to deep, tragic flaws, linking the venal with the vulnerable. All is writ large in headlines about money, sex and power.

Like the beat-beat-beat of the tom-tom, like the tick-tick-tock of the stately clock, the drip-drip-drip of the raindrops (with apologies to Cole Porter), a voice within keeps repeating, "Why, why, why?" We want reasons why our cultural icons can move so quickly from the spotlight of center stage to hidden places among the shadows of the wings, there to reveal lives lived most scandalously.

We watch with fascination when men on stilts feed our fantasies, but there's nothing left but frustration and disappointment when we witness the witless and wasteful repeating the stupid mistakes of those who fell before them. We're inevitably teased into looking for explanations elsewhere.

Achilles had only his heel to worry about. (Our heels impose larger worries.) The arrow pierced Achilles' heel, but not before he could show an honorable side. He rose above mistakes made through anger, greed and pride, and his myth lives inside the history of literature larger than life-size. How puny our fallen titans look by comparison. No myth can be written small enough to suit.

When Bernard Madoff stood up to be punished for the pain his greed had inflicted on so many, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin imposed the maximum 150 years of imprisonment. The judge called his crimes "extraordinarily evil," and the cries of universal agreement sounded like the chorus in a Greek tragedy. But do we examine ourselves as we examine him or merely dismiss self-examination as "there but for the grace of G-d go others"?

Dante links the notion of greed to the biblical warning that the love of money is the "root of all evils." In his "Inferno," Dante puts the greedy together with the hoarders who give nothing to their neighbors. The tightfisted and the ravenous wolves are destined to keep bumping into each other as they endlessly push a boulder in the fourth circle of hell. They spend the afterlife in eternal conflict: "Ill-giving, ill-hoarding, lost for them the light of the bright world and in this scuffling caught."

Too bad so many of the charities that benefited from the "profits" earned by Madoff are either out of business or greatly diminished in their ability to help others. Who will make up for those losses?

When Madoff turned to face his victims in the courtroom and spoke of his life as "tormented" by his cruelty, his victims were unmoved. The news that his wife cries herself to sleep every night, consoled only by the $2.5 million she will be allowed to keep, impressed no one — and certainly not his victims, who cry themselves to sleep every night, too. Would the Madoffs shed tears of remorse if they hadn't gotten caught? Dante is merciless toward the greedy; less condemning toward the lustful.

So, too, the public reaction to the misdemeanors of our randy politicians, such as the adultery of Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina. But for his remarkable press conference and continuing interviews, in which he looks more a fool than a sinner, he might have earned greater public sympathy.

Human frailty is fathomable — and forgivable. Though the state briefly was left leaderless for love, South Carolina survived his absence. By printing the private letters between the governor and his mistress, the press looked even more prurient than usual. We felt sullied by reading them, but read them we did. Who among us would not take pleasure in being addressed as Beloved (and who among us would not feel foolish if an intimate letter to a beloved was held up for public entertainment)? This was not correspondence between Antony and Cleopatra, but the media were the asp in the grass.

Michael Jackson is a moral tale well told before — a talented man who dies before ripening into maturity. By all accounts, he long ago snuffed out his talent with drugs and an obsession with cosmetic surgery that exposed the qualities of the outer man as something less than skin deep. The stick figure he left behind was pecked to death by the hordes of freeloaders at Neverland. He could moonwalk better than anyone else, but where ultimately did the walk take him?

"For all the gold that is beneath the moon, Or ever was," Dante wrote, "(it) never could buy repose."

Will we never learn?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.


Suzanne Fields Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields