Muesli, Morals & a Bright Backside

When Henry Vaughn in the seventeenth century writes “How fair a prospect is a bright backside”, he doesn’t mean what you think he might mean; he’s saying that it’s nice to have a garden behind your house. Language takes work to understand, especially if it is something said millennia ago.

The words of Torah are often presented as an ordeal after which you’re supposed to feel better, a kind of mental muesli that cleans out the system and purges the soul. Like muesli, Torah is often presented as boring, fruity and full of indigestible roughage. All done, it is said, for the sake of developing better morals.

It certainly takes work to understand Torah, but I despise boring work even more than muesli.  The work can be an adventure; we can step into a virtual time machine to hear Isaiah explain why there is no sacrifice demanded by, well, a sacrifice. We can travel back in time to hear the Sages teach the Music of Halacha and focus on the now rather than the long-term. We can join with commentaries from all points of history and the world for an exciting Table Talk about Adam, Voices and Being Human. Join in the Conversation about Forms of Prayer.

I am thrilled this week to present a dream fulfilled; a community response toWhat is The Reason. We have also enabled you to comment on each individual essay. We are truly privileged to introduce A Time For All Things by Harav Nachman Cohen; a great Talmid Chacham and a true Tzaddik.

Please keep those comments on the Haggadah coming. We found a sponsor and we hope to publish the Foundation Stone Haggadah in time for Pesach.

This isn’t muesli. This is the joy of learning, growing and being alive. I think I’ll head out to my bright backside and snack on some real muesli.

Rabbi Simcha L. Weinberg

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