Bill Kristol's Favorite Bible Verse
Hard to parody:
I think my answer would be Numbers 10:35, one of the verses read in synagogue on Saturday in preparation for the reading from the Torah. When the ark is opened, revealing the Torah scrolls, the congregation stands, as the Israelites stood at the base of Mt. Sinai, and chants the verse: "When the ark was carried forward, Moses would say, 'Arise, Lord! May Your enemies be scattered, may Your foes be put to flight.'" For some reason, this has always been one of my favorite moments in the service.
Is this supposed to be a joke? And then this remarkable passage from Clarence Thomas's book that Kristol finds instructive. It refers to Thomas's grandfather's unbounded affection for his great-grandson, Jamal, in contrast to the way he had brought up Thomas himself:
As Thomas comments, "It really was as simple as that. Daddy had to raise us, but he only had to enjoy Jamal, so he kissed and hugged him." And Thomas goes on to wonder "how hard it had been for him to hide his affection from us. How often had he looked in on my brother and me as we slept, gazing at us with the same sweetness I saw each time he looked at Jamal? How often had he longed to hold us, hug us, grant our every wish, but held himself back for fear of letting us see his vulnerability, believing as he did that real love demanded not affection but discipline?"
So, according to Thomas, real paternal love doesn't mean affection for your kids. It means you cannot hug or hold them. I understand not granting them every wish - but discipline and affection as mutually exclusive? What a glimpse into the tortured soul of Thomas ... and Kristol.