Among the many useful resources at Gender Spectrum, is this set of responses to "clobber passages" in sacred text, Jewish and Christian. https://www.genderspectrum.org/articles/faith-resources-clobber
Our brains tend to create a continuum of experience between birth and death, laughing and weeping. Why, then, are we stuck with the binary, with no spectrum, when it comes to male and female?
"Who can straighten what God has twisted?" The Book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), which many communities read during the Shabbat of Sukkot or at other points during the festival, tells us: Consider God’s doing! Who can straighten what [God] has twisted? So in a time of good fortune enjoy the good fortune; and in a time … Continue reading What God Has Twisted: Sukkot Addendum
Maybe crookedness is, contrary to Moses' perception, part of how we survive, retain, and share essential aspects of Torah and divinity.
Not sure where this is going, but launching a new set of Torah explorations with Haazinu, near the end of Deuteronomy, and looking back/ahead to Breishit, at the start of the reading cycle. While the writing is mine, the thoughts are informed and inspired by Tzedek Chicago Torah study, a weekly on-line communal dive into … Continue reading Experiment 5782
"Haazinu" means something like "Give ear!" The Torah portion, Haazinu is comprised of Deuteronomy 32:1-52, and most of it is set as poetry. This makes the penultimate portion of Deuteronomy, which closes out the desert story, a kind of bookend to the Song of the Sea (Exodus 15:1-18), which marks the crossing over into the … Continue reading Haazinu (Deut 32:1-52)
This week's reading, Mikeitz (Gen 41:1-44:17), comes to us from several different perspectives. In addition Rabbi Suzanne Singer notes the cliffhanger nature of this telling, describing it as a reminder to us that "...our choices are moment-to-moment decisions, the path never certain until the time comes to act. This cliffhanger ending is also a signal … Continue reading Perspectives and Pauses: Episode 10
In this week's portion, we read about an incident involving Potiphar, Potiphar's wife (never named in the Torah), Joseph, who is enslaved within Potiphar's house, and other menservants of the household. Nechama Leibowitz points out how Potiphar's wife uses different language when telling the servants her story and when telling her husband: this reflects an … Continue reading Common Cause?
In this week's Torah reading, we see that Dinah goes out "to see." What does it mean for an individual of one culture or community "to see" someone from another? What can and can't we see? This is episode 8 in Genesis. Vayishlach is Genesis 32:4-36:43. What follows is Hebrew for verse 34:1, transliteration, and … Continue reading Went Out, To See
A few thoughts on diversity of place names, names for the divine, and ways of calling on, clinging to, and claiming land in this week's Torah reading. The portion is called Vayeitzei [And he left/went out], Gen 28:10-32:3 Naming land, Naming Ancestors: Genesis Genesis 31:47: Laban named it Yegar-sahadutha, but Jacob named it Gal-ed. Dictionary … Continue reading Ancestors and Names: Genesis and DC