Category: Jewish philosophy

Exploring Babylon: Introduction

Exile saturates Jewish sacred text, practice, and thought. From east of Eden to Babylonian captivity…

Distance, part 2

Distance between people and God, and if/how to bridge it, is a major theme…

Roads, Birds, and Distance: Amichai, Goldberg, and the Rambam

“Touch” [Hebrew: נָגַע] is a word-of-the-week, as my study partner and I plow slowly through Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed. This common verb, as it happens, is central to a Yehuda Amichai piece Temple Micah’s […]

Courageous Thoughts

Let’s return briefly to the questions which plagued author Sebastian Junger, in his suburban Boston youth, and set him a path that eventually led him to write Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging: How do you […]

More Sacrifice

In the list of general obligations that closed the previous post, the concept of “sacrifice” per se does not appear. This raised the question for me: Is “sacrificing” for the community or for a greater […]

Exodus Revisited: Pharaoh’s “Hardened Heart” and Contemporary “Criminal Justice”

Pharaoh’s “hardened heart” plays a big role in Exodus, providing a framework for the ten plagues, the eventual freeing of the Israelites from bondage, and serious disaster for biblical Egypt. Policies like “zero tolerance” in […]

A Mountain Called Zion…

“Our hearts beat with certainty that there is a day and an hour, and a mountain called Zion…” These messianic words startled me when the congregation was asked to recite this unfamiliar passage the other […]

Lamed…

The last word of the Torah is ישראל (Yisrael), making the final letter of the Torah ל, lamed. The first word is בראשית [“in the beginning”], with the initial letter ב, bet. This leads many […]

Time for Silence? Time for Speech?

The Book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) offers thirty pairs of phrases elaborating on the theme of a “season set for everything” (Kohelet 3:1-8): 1) To every thing there is a season, and a time to every […]