Here’s a fun parlor game/internet meme for the jblog crowd:
Would you rather that your son grew up to be Albert Einstein or Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, aka the Chofetz Chaim? These two men lived during roughly the same period (Kagan passed away in 1933, Einstein died in 1955). Einstein changed our understanding of time, space, energy and the universe, and left a changed world in his wake. Kagan authored the Mishna Berurah, an important commentary on Orach Chaim, one of the four sections of the Shulchan Aruch, and also codified the laws and practices related to guarding one’s speech (Lashon Harah). Einstein believed in the god of Baruch Spinoza, Kagan believed in the God of the Exodus. Einstein was a universalist, who rejected the notion that the Jewish people were “chosen”, whereas the Chofetz Chaim was characterized by his certainty that the Jewish people were God’s firstborn, who would be redeemed momentarily by Him. The Chofetz Chaim kept Shabbat; Einstein did not.
Take your pick.