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Clean Hands

From the 1940s until his death in 1986, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was the most prominent authority on Jewish law in America. One of his briefer responses addressed an inquiry about whether it was permissible to play ball for a living. What about the threat of serious injury? No, said R. Moshe, adducing . . . . Continue Reading »

Prudence in the Pandemic

We do not exercise moral judgment in the same manner in every instance. Broadly, there are three basic situations in the moral life, which require three different ways of thinking. The recent pandemic, and the ensuing reflections on our moral responsibilities as civic leaders and citizens, . . . . Continue Reading »

Catastrophism and Control

A wise man knows that he must put things into perspective, but a still wiser man knows what perspective to put them into. A doctor who tells the widow of a patient who has just died that, after all, her husband’s was only one of 2,800,000 deaths a year in the United States alone (56,000,000 . . . . Continue Reading »

Dying of Despair

On November 4, 2014, ­­sixteen-year-old Cameron Lee, a popular, athletic, straight-A student at Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California, leapt in front of a commuter train. His suicide note provided no clear reason for his act; there were no apparent signs of mental illness, and he was . . . . Continue Reading »

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