Exploring Babylon: Intro

Exile — from east of Eden to Babylonian Captivity — saturates Jewish sacred text, practice, and thought. Can understanding Exile foster more cooperative, diverse communities today?

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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 Hebrew Poetry group discussed this past Shabbat. The two explorations of touch shed a little extra light on one another […]

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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 become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world […]

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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 goal a Jewish notion? A few notes from a brief further exploration: The substantial entry on “sacrifice” in the Jewish […]

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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 day: The good in us will win… …. Our hearts beat with certainty that there is a day and an […]

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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 commentators to suggest “reading backward,” from the final word of Deuteronomy to the first of Genesis, seeing Torah as the […]

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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 purpose under the heaven: 2) A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and […]

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