Ancestors and Names: Genesis and DC

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…

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Brothers and Conflict

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…

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Separating and Unity

This is combined episode 4 and 5 of the book of Genesis, focusing on divisions in the narrative — divisions in family, of ideology and of belief systems, and land — as well as some points of (re-)union. This commentary covers both the Torah portion Vayeira, 18:1-22:24, read last week, and this week’, Chayei Sarah,…

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Noah and Caste

The story of Noah, and commentaries on what intersects with ideas of caste.

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A Brother’s Bloods: Cain, Deon Kay, and the Sanhedrin

Abel’s blood(s) cry out from the ground, and that informs ancient Jewish ideas about acceptable procedures in capital cases. What are the implications for police killings?

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Scouting Challenge: Facing Race

How can we avoid the kind of disaster the Yisrael-ites meet after sending out a scouting party from the wilderness (Numbers 13:1)?

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