By Mark Gerson
Who is the worst Jew in the Torah? This might seem like the kind of inquiry more appropriate for kids trading sports cards than for those seeking guidance and wisdom from the sacred book of Judaism and the fundamental text of Western civilization, yet it’s an important question.
One of the most interesting, instructive and useful Jewish teachings derives from a similar question in the Talmud: What is the most important passage in the Torah? This kind of exercise requires a variety of analytical disciplines, all of which help us to enhance our understanding of God’s Word. We must rigorously consider all of the contenders, and thus we have at least a working knowledge of lots of possibilities. We must thoughtfully identify the qualities that we believe earn the designation of best and worst and, as importantly, the emphasis that we place on each quality en route to deciding the winner or loser. And then we must be prepared to defend our choice against critics, who will invariably have informed and intelligent opinions that lead them to different conclusions.
Read more at The Worst Jew in the Torah.