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. DictionaryContinue reading “Ancestors and Names: Genesis and DC”

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 — orContinue reading “Brothers and Conflict”

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,Continue reading “Separating and Unity”

Leaving Sinai

Post-Revelation, week 2. This commentary looks at the exchange between Moses and his father-in-law about the latter’s desire to go his own way, back home and not follow the Yisreal-ites on their journey away from Sinai (Numbers 10:29-32). The brief exchange is left open-ended, allowing for much commentary. Also allowing for us to pause andContinue reading “Leaving Sinai”

Deceit and Breaking Faith

Last week, we completed our 49-stage journey through the wilderness, the seven weeks from the Liberation holiday of Passover toward the Revelation holiday of Shavuot. We are now in the segment of the Jewish calendar that carries us from the high point of Revelation at Sinai to the low point of Tisha B’av, an observanceContinue reading “Deceit and Breaking Faith”