Opinion | The Secrets of Jewish Genius – The Union Journal

Posted By on January 3, 2020

However the Jews are good rationalization obscures greater than it illuminates. Other than the perennial nature-or-nurture query of why so many Ashkenazi Jews have increased I.Q.s, theres the tougher query of why that intelligence was so usually matched by such bracing originality and high-minded objective. One can apply a prodigious mind within the service of prosaic issues formulating a struggle plan, for example, or setting up a ship. One also can apply brilliance within the service of a mistake or against the law, like managing a deliberate economic system or robbing a financial institution.

However because the story of the Lithuanian rabbi suggests, Jewish genius operates otherwise. Its vulnerable to query the premise and rethink the idea; to ask why (or why not?) as usually as how; to see the absurd within the mundane and the chic within the absurd. Ashkenazi Jews may need a marginal benefit over their gentile friends on the subject of pondering higher. The place their benefit extra usually lies is in pondering totally different.

The place do these habits of thoughts come from?

Theres a non secular custom that, not like some others, asks the believer not solely to watch and obey but in addition to debate and disagree. Theres the never-quite-comfortable standing of Jews in locations the place theyre the minority intimately conversant in the customs of the nation whereas sustaining a crucial distance from them. Theres a ethical perception, incarnate within the Jewish folks in line with Einstein, that the lifetime of the person solely has worth [insofar] because it aids in making the life of each dwelling factor nobler and extra stunning.

And theres the understanding, born of repeated exile, that every little thing that appears strong and priceless is finally perishable, whereas every little thing thats intangible information most of all is doubtlessly eternal.

We had been effectively off, however that was all we obtained out, the late financier Felix Rohatyn recalled of his narrow escape, with a few hidden gold coins, from the Nazis as a child in World War II. Ever since, Ive had the feeling that the only permanent wealth is what you carry around in your head. If the greatest Jewish minds seem to have no walls, it may be because, for Jews, the walls have so often come tumbling down.


Opinion | The Secrets of Jewish Genius - The Union Journal

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