The Ten Commandments
Choosing to display the Ten Commandments on the front page of your Shavuot edition of May 21, while commendable in thought, was a poor decision as the name of God was spelled out, creating a problem of shamot, and numerous words were misspelled.
Rabbi Howard Finkelstein
Intermarriage is a fact of life
Whether we like it or not, intermarriages are a fact of life (“Is there a future for intermarried rabbis,” May 7). How we handle it is our problem.
Rabbis or lay persons, we are all free to make our own decisions, as long as we keep our own faith and respect our spouse’s. The question here is whether declining enrolment in schools and lack of attendance in synagogues is due to intermarriage? I don’t think so.
Some Reform temples (I am proud to be a member of one) accept non-Jewish spouses as members and give them the respect they deserve. Perhaps that is one way to ensure that the Jewish spouse keeps his or her faith, and maybe with our acceptance and welcoming attitude, the non-Jewish spouse might convert, or one can hope !
Survival of our Jewish faith does not depend on how many Jewish babies are born every day, but on how much Judaism is practised in Jewish homes.
In the column “Our favourite Jewish texts,” (May 21), one of the texts quoted was “For there is no righteous man on earth who does good and sins not” (Ecclesiastes, 7:20). The interpretation given was that “in order to become righteous, one must sin along the way.”
This was obviously never the intent of King Solomon who wrote it. The famous commentator Ibn Ezra explains the verse: “It is impossible for a man to always do good and never sin.”
It is instructive to see what Rashi, the foremost classical commentator, says about this verse: “Therefore, a person should look into his deeds.”
The Sifsei Chachomim (commentary) on Rashi explains that this verse is connected to the previous one that praises wisdom. A person might think that he is so wise that he will never come to sin. To counter this argument, verse 20 says that there is none so wise or great that they will never sin, and, therefore, Rashi adds that one must look into one’s ways to see if they are correct or not.
God told Cain: “Sin lies crouching at the door and its desire is unto you, yet you can rule over it.” The choice is ours.
Rabbi Mordechai Bulua
Saudi Arabia the real threat
Sheryl Saperia, in her May 21 essay, “The case for expanding Canada’s sanctions against Iran,” seems to be unaware that in a 2015 report, James Clapper, the U.S. director of national intelligence, removed Iran (and Hezbollah) from its list of terrorism threats.
Furthermore, the report titled Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Communities noted Iran’s efforts to combat violent Sunni extremists who pose a major terrorist threat to American interests.
Saperia also failed to note that Iran provided vital intelligence and logistical support before, during and after the U.S.-led military operations in Afghanistan that resulted in the overthrow of the Taliban.
Perhaps it is time for Saperia and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to focus on the main source of radical fundamentalism in the Middle East region: Saudi Arabia. In fact, the official 9/11 Commission report said that the main backers for Al Qaeda are private Saudi donors and donors in the other Sunni Gulf states.
In 2010, WikiLeaks released a memorandum from then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton that said exactly the same thing.
While most Canadians are certainly aware that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia, how many Canadians also know that the most comprehensive study of suicide terrorism carried out to date determined that there has never been an Iranian suicide bomber?