Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Uncommon Sense by Rabbi D.B. Ganz

Uncommon Sense
The Talmud's Timeless Solutions to Political
and Social Challenges

The central text of traditional Judaism is called the Talmud - a vast collection of Jewish laws and traditions touching on a wide range of subjects. In this context, Rabbi D.B. Ganz, a Talmudic scholar, has written a new book that applies the wisdom of the Talmud to many major social and political topics faced by today's Western societies. Uncommon Sense: The Talmud's Timeless Solutions to Political and Social Challenges redefines these topics and illustrates how to come up with solutions to many problems we face today. Rabbi Ganz presents ancient Talmudic concepts and demonstrates their contemporary relevance and application... and you don't have to be Jewish to appreciate and learn from this text.

Talmudic wisdom is neither Liberal nor Conservative. When applied to social issues, it does indeed often take strong positions. Yet, surprisingly often, it explains why this is not a choice between two valid alternatives. Rather, one approach to the issue is correct, and the other is clearly mistaken. The Talmud has been speaking brilliantly and unambiguously on virtually every social and moral topic for millennia. It therefore more easily cuts through the maze of conflicting opinions that becloud virtually every publicly debated issue.

Among the topics covered in this volume are: abortion, illegal immigration to the USA, medical malpractice policy and high medical costs, runaway government deficit spending, and a policy on taxation. There is also an Epilogue on the Talmud's approach to attaining contentment and happiness. You will learn:
  • How to strengthen the U.S. military while at the same time reigning in its spending.
  • How much of society the government should control and at what rate people should be taxed.
  • To what extent should the U.S. regulate employer/employee agreements and otherwise interfere with private sector business activity.
  • What the U.S. should do about its entitlement spending.
  • What the U.S. should do about illegal immigrants.
  • Why liberals are liberal about everything except for people and ideas that are not liberal.
  • An approach to when the U.S. should and should not intervene in foreign conflicts.
  • How hostility toward those with opposing beliefs is often a function of one's own flawed thinking.
  • ...and so much more!
Amidst our faltering economy, Americans will want to read Rabbi Ganz's chapters on the economy and the government. Particularly fascinating is his chapter on wealth creation. He discusses the phenomenon of governments that are inherently inefficient managing ever more of what people depend on. In this light, he discusses Obamacare and how it will likely impact upon the U.S. public. Rabbi Ganz talks about the national debt crisis brought on by governments that borrow a significant percentage of what they spend without the ability to repay and what options the country faces to resolve this conundrum of public policy.

Uncommon Sense is a well-thought-out work of Talmudic logic. It was not written in an attempt to mix religion with politics. Almost anyone can sidestep its spiritual origins and gain beneficial insights from Talmudic wisdom.An ancient and yet entirely fresh voice, the Talmud is not at all dated. Rabbi Ganz discusses ancient Talmudic concepts and their relevance to many of the major political issues of the day that bedevil modern society.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rabbi D.B. Ganz studied Talmud full time for 15 years at the Rabbinical Seminary of America (AKA Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim) in Queens, NY. He served as Dean of the Hebrew Academy of Suffolk County, an Orthodox Jewish elementary school in Long Island. He then published Defining Humanity, a book on Talmudic ethical principles and human insights, after which he founded the Jewish Heritage Initiative of Cambridge (JHI), which promotes in-depth Talmud study among the local university students at Harvard and MIT.

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