World War I, Fascism, Nazism, Stalinism, Maoism, Auschwitz and Hiroshima: I, for one, was delighted to see the 20th century end. Because how could the next one be worse? But halfway through the first decade of the 21st century, we are beginning to see how.
The centerpiece of the third section of the Tanach, the section known as Ketuvim (the Writings), is the Book of Psalms. The Book of Psalms contains some of the most majestic poetic images in the history of the Hebrew language.
Rashi, the most famous of our medieval biblical exegetes, quotes a beautiful Midrash to explain the unusual grammatical construct.
"Calling," Rashi writes, "preceded every statement, every saying and every command. It is lashon hibbah, the language of love."
Even in the best of families, relationships are enormously complicated. Some of the stories rabbis hear, all too frequently, of families in crisis are excruciatingly painful: parents who disown their children because of radical disappointment with the life choices their children have made; siblings who refuse to be in the same room with each other because their anger is irreconcilable; courts clogged with family members fighting over contested wills, and so forth. The possibilities for family chaos are almost endless. When things go wrong, they often go very wrong.