Rabbi Edwin C. Goldbergis the Senior Rabbi of Temple Sholomof Chicago, IL. He is the coordinating editor of the new High Holiday prayer book, Mishkan HaNefesh (CCAR). He has a doctorate in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and has published five books, most recently Love Tales from the Talmud (URJ Press) and Saying No and Letting Go: Jewish Wisdom on Making Room for What Matters Most (Jewish Lights).
After a natural calamity or terrorist attack an understandable question presents itself: Where is God in all this? We've seen the evil that people can do, and we've seen the spirit of sacrifice and service in firefighters, emergency workers, police officers, and ordinary citizens.
Can you say chutzpah? How about arrogance? Or is ignorance a more appropriate word for people behaving badly? When I served a congregation in Hollywood, I met many performers who were both prominent and very fine human beings.
In this week's Torah portion, Mikeitz, Joseph, now the viceroy of Egypt, receives a visit from his brothers who seek relief from the famine in Canaan. While Joseph recognizes them, they don't realize that he is the brother they kidnapped and sold into slavery. This makes sense.
Most of us have grown up with the power of positive thinking. We've been warned about negative outlooks and what popular psychologists call "catastrophizing." To have a successful outcome when facing a problem, we're told that we need to avoid the bad and focus on the good.