Across and Afire

An individual perceived a structure aglow and asked: “Is no one in charge?” God responds: “We are!”

Bent Word of the Week

In the spirit of noticing words with a meaning related to “bending,” here are some notes on the root bet-reish-chaf (barakh; berekh)

Purposes and Purpose: Ecclesiastes and Babel

This post looks at the contrast between “every purpose” and “common purpose” in Ecclesiastes and the Babel story and some related matters of language and poetry.

Every Purpose, Everywhere, All Day, All Genders

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?

Experiment 5782

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 Torah led by Rabbi Brant Rosen. They are also informed by years of Torah study with Fabrangen Havurah, more recent studies with Hill Havurah, and by Talmud study with SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva.

The original idea for the blog and podcast here was to bring DC-focused perspectives, especially those from east of the river, to Torah study. Most of that material is still accessible here — and, sadly — many of the points about disparities in health and housing, etc. are no less relevant. At present, however, different aspects of the text are calling….

thoughts and suggestions welcome!

Haazinu (Deut 32:1-52)

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 desert from Mitzrayim [Biblical Egypt].


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