Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A lesson from Dennis Prager

My wife and I were fortunate to be able to see the intellectual, conservative talk show host, Dennis Prager, here in Houston at the Jewish Community Center on the opening night of the JCC annual book fair. He along with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin discussed their book written 36 years ago, "The Nine Questions People Ask about Judaism". It led to discussion of topics relating to today and beyond.  It was so informative and very enjoyable!  What an awesome presence Dennis Prager commands on the stage. If you think a lecture like this would be boring than you haven't heard Dennis Prager. The hall was packed with people actually having to stand on the sides because all the chairs [around 2000] were taken.

Rabbi Telushkin talked first about topics in the book. 
Then Dennis talked about topics from the book and beyond.

One of the important things Dennis said was, that if you don't get the first verse in the Old Testament, that God created the heavens and the earth, than nothing else matters. He calls this first verse the most important verse in the bible.

He also told us this sad observation, that Jews have bought into the idea that the universities are this great beacon of intellectual thought in America, when they are the most anti Israel, and in many cases anti Jewish institutions we have in this country.   He said two of the things that  universities disdain the most are religion [belief in God] and Israel. So, that is why Zionism is really hated by them because it contains both of those elements.  He said this is true even among many of the Jewish professors.  

He also told us how the universities teach the lie that many of our founders were non believers, when just the opposite is true.  He talked about how the Liberty Bell's inscription was a verse from the Torah.  My Christian wife nodded her head in agreement when Dennis Prager told this overwhelmingly Jewish audience, that American Christians are the Jews and Israel's best friends.

One thing Dennis got passionate about was the wrong secular view that people are born good, without free will; that it is environment and heredity that can turn them bad.  He said this is totally not a Jewish concept and totally wrong.  He said what comes out of Judaism is that people have free will and they are not born with the trait of goodness.  Dennis said that children must be taught goodness and values.   He said the secular ideology teaches that people are born good, but through no fault of their own may turn bad because of their environment, which is outside of their control.  He says this wrong thought is used to justify bad behavior and the need for liberal social engineering programs.

Dennis Prager told how his Jewish experience teaches him that there is life after death.  He said jokingly, if he goes to one more Jewish funeral and hears the  Rabbi say how the deceased life goes on through their deeds and their children, he wants to get up and yell, 'that is not true.'  He said what about those who don't have children, are you telling him their life doesn't go on.

Dennis even talked about sports at the end when he said baseball is the best sport and so great because it has no time limit. Then he added, to the groans of many in the audience, " as the Texas Rangers have found out."

I want to thank the Rabbi and Dennis for such a wonderful evening. My wife and I are so glad we went!

Because of Dennis Prager's visit to Houston I want to play just one of his videos from his web site, a great informative teaching site called Prager University. Please click on this to view his web site.

From Prager University: The Most Important Verse in the Bible.


The Balladeer said...

Michael, an excellent blog!! It has been my pleasure to meet Dennis on maybe 5 or 6 occasions over the last 15 years! & of course I've read all of his books!! What an influence he's had on my life since about 1995/6 when I first tuned him in! Thank U so much for posting this blog!! I also had the pleasure of driving Rabbi Telushkin from LAX to Orange County (about a 45 minute drive) one day, & I spoke with him about SO MANY THINGS,as you might imagine!! Wonderful man!! God bless!!

Big Mike said...

Wow, Balladeer, you are Blessed indeed!!