Self-Reflection and Pirkei Avot

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  “Turn it and turn it, since everything is in it,” Pirkei Avot instructs us.   After four years of rabbinical school, sometimes it feels like turning pages is all I have done – pages of Talmud, Midrash, history, the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong – I am a passionate reader and an… Read more »

Want to Lead a More Meaningful Life? Then Pick Up Your Pen!

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  One of Ben Franklin’s most admirable qualities was how self-reflective he was.   He was constantly striving to be a better man—and part of that endeavor involved thinking deeply about why he did the things he did. Franklin kept a journal throughout his life where he recorded his thoughts and mused on why he was… Read more »

Temperance and the Meaning of Passover

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  What can we learn from ritual temperance?   A few weeks ago, I spent my first Passover away from home and family. Observing the holiday, which commemorates the story of Exodus and the Israelites’ escape from slavery, involves abstaining from certain foods. For eight days, wheat, bread, and other types of chametz are rendered… Read more »

Chastity: 5 Questions to Get Started

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Are you practicing the virtue of chastity? Here are 5 questions to ask yourself or your Ben Franklin Circle. Franklin’s definition: “Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; Never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”   1. What are your thoughts on Ben Franklin’s definition of… Read more »

Moderation: 5 Questions to Get Started

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Are you practicing the virtue of moderation? Here are 5 questions to ask yourself or your Ben Franklin Circle. Franklin’s definition: “Avoid extremes. Forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.”   1. Franklin seems to be calling for emotional and psychological moderation (i.e. avoid resentment). Is it important to control your emotional… Read more »

Humility: 5 Questions to Get Started

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Are you practicing the virtue of humility? Here are 5 questions to ask yourself or your Ben Franklin Circle. Franklin’s definition: “Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”   1. There are a lot of different ways to think about humility. By referencing Jesus and Socrates, Franklin suggests that humility involves thinking of yourself as unimportant and undistinguished,… Read more »