The planting of an orchard, or center of hospitality, could be a whole episode, or maybe an entire series, in a serial story. Within the plot-heavy Torah portion Vayera, ([“And he saw”]: Gen 18:1-22:24 — see My Jewish Learning), however, this bit of narrative can be easily overlooked or dismissed -- it seems so small, … Continue reading Planting Trees, Stretching Glitter
If we start with the intention of learning to build community, how will the questions we ask of Torah change?
Short note on a connecting root shared by birah and berakha.
An individual perceived a structure aglow and asked: "Is no one in charge?" God responds: "We are!"
In the spirit of noticing words with a meaning related to "bending," here are some notes on the root bet-reish-chaf (barakh; berekh)
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.
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?
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
Episode 6, based on the Torah portion Toldot, Gen 25:19-28:9. Two not thoughts on Esau and Jacob. "The Greatest Threat to Civilization..." by Rabbi Michael Dolgin, citing Pardes Yosef from the Lodz Ghetto. See also Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg. Genesis: The Beginning of Desire (Jewish Publication Society, 1995). Get a copy, if you can — or … Continue reading Brothers and Conflict