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Milton’s Apple and Ours

Why did Eve bite the apple? Milton puts this question at the center of Paradise Lost, the greatest long poem in English. Why did Eve listen to Satan, pluck the apple from the tree, and take a bite? This temptation bears on us now. Satan always hides in plain sight. So it’s no surprise . . . . Continue Reading »

Among the Rootless

In a speech delivered in October 2014, David Brooks offered a fanciful contrast devised by Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik between the external and internal Adams. External Adam, or “Adam One,” pursues an “external résumé” of career advancement, rising status, and financial success. Adam Two cultivates “eulogy virtues,” his motto is “Charity. Love. Redemption,” and he values a “serene inner character” and a “quiet but solid sense of right and wrong” more than his portfolio. Assertive Adam One wants to “venture forth,” while virtuous Adam Two desires to “return to roots.” Continue Reading »

Orion and Modern Man

One evening in the dead of winter, I went on a walk. I was on a break from graduate school visiting my parents who live away from the glare of city lights. As I was making my way that night, I looked up into the sky to locate my old friends—those constellations of stars I had been taught to recognize as a young boy. Most of them were there that evening, quietly making their way across the heavens: the always-faithful Big Dipper, Cassiopeia in her regal splendor, and Cepheus her jealous husband. And then, suddenly, my survey of the skies was arrested by the sight of Orion the Hunter. Continue Reading »

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