Monsters, Exile, and Storytelling

UPDATE: The event described here, including the brief interview with Díaz, took place on March 15, 2018. The piece below was posted on April 1. The New Yorker article, “The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma” — which has a LOT to say about monsters and trauma — was not published until April 16. See […]

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Seeing You in 42 Familiar Places (Mattot-Masei Prayer Links)

“In that small cafe; The park across the way; The children’s carousel; The chestnut trees; The wishin’ well. “I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places… I’ll find you In the morning sun And when the night is new. I’ll be looking at the moon, But I’ll be seeing you.” The relationship described […]

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Emor: A Path to Follow

The story [of the blasphemer, Leviticus/Vayikra 24:10-23] is noteworthy in that it is one of only four incidents in the Torah in which Moses is shown asking God how to decide an issue (the others are Numbers 9:6ff, 15:32ff, and 27:1ff). Moses sought God’s judgment because the punishment for blasphemy had not yet been detailed. […]

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Acharei Mot: Something to Notice

“Acharei mot [after the death].” This expression refers to the deaths of Nadav and Abihu after they “came near” (elsewhere: “brought strange fire”) before the Lord (see parashat Shemini). For some readers, I imagine, it’s a relatively simple chronology-determining statement: this happened after that. For people who have experienced a cataclysmic loss — the early […]

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Shemini: Great Source(s)-2

This may not seem immediately related to the portion, Shemini, in anyone else’s head. But Louis Armstrong — both voice and trumpet — has always sounded to me like a man who has experienced strange crossings with their share of harrowing times and losses…not unlike what the families of Aaron/Elisheva and Moses/Zipporah — and the […]

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Shemini: Language and Translation

“Moses spoke to Aaron and to Elazar and Ithamar, his remaining sons [banav ha-notarim], ‘Take the meal-offering that is left [ha-noteret] from the fire-offerings of HASHEM, and eat it unleavened near the Altar; for it is the most holy.’”

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Yitro: A Path to Follow

This portion begins with one of the three clear mentions of Zipporah, daughter of Yitro (Jethro), wife of Moses, mother of Gershom and Eliezer, and sister to six unnamed women mentioned in Exodus/Shemot 2:16. The other two clear references to Zipporah occur in the portion Shemot (chapter two, as noted above, and 4:24-26); Moses’ “cushite […]

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Drawing Back: Zipporah’s View

Drawing Back A Midrash on Exodus 4:24-26 [18] Moses and I have long agreed that our journey left us in very different places. Only recently, though, have I come to wonder if we even shared a starting point… In the beginning, I remember, both boys [1] were almost trampled to death when the elder tried […]

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