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Showing posts from January, 2012

Jewish Guilt: It's Optional

I would like to talk today about guilt, a subject that we Jews are self-proclaimed experts on.  Why is that?  'Jewish guilt' is something that we all joke about, something that we all feel bonded over.  There are many theories as to why we are so good at guilt.  One of my favorites is that we, more than many peoples of this world, feel the particular weight of our history.  For us, the past looms large--in the Torah, in our wandering through the world; through our struggles with Crusaders and Cossacks and Nazis through the centuries, we have more than our share of baggage to lug through the generations.  We also know that we're a part of a very special people, with very high expectations of ourselves--and that alone is enough to make us quite neurotic.
It's clear from the Torah that guilt was around even in the earliest days. As we finish the Book of Genesis today, we find the brothers of Joseph burdened by their past mistreatment of their brother, and full of fear of J…