Liel Leibovitz rarely fails to provoke in his weekly parasha column, and today’s in Tablet Magazine is no exception: In a phrase, he defends Bernard Madoff. Well, sorta:

What Madoff understood, the fundamental truth lying at the heart of his deceptions, was not that people are greedy, but that people would go to tremendous lengths to try and overcome the basic unknowability, the profound impermanence that is at the core of human existence. People invested with Madoff because he suggested that he could turn the market—tempestuous, unpredictable, sometimes vengeful, frequently wild—into a tamed beast that behaved just as you liked it to behave, a reliable animal that gave and gave and asked for nothing in return. And the banks collaborated not only because great wealth was being generated, but also because Madoff’s fantasy was too strong to resist.

In Defense of Bernie