Category: Judaism

Ezekiel, Exodus, and Babylon

Exploring Babylon Chapter 17 Recent scholarship concerning the prophet Ezekiel touches on some fascinating questions about the extent to which Judeans in Babylonian exile were acculturated and how cultural contact between Babylon and Israel might […]

Computing Failures and Babylon

The People’s calculations before the Golden Calf incident, like attempts to calculate the end of exile, yield disastrous results.

The Treasure and the Favor

Just as the stories of Exile and Return include people of quite different mindsets, Exodus peoples are not monolithic.

The Powers and the Wealth

Exploring Babylon Chapter 15.1 The battle between God and Pharaoh reaches a crescendo in this week’s Torah portion — Bo (Ex 10:1 – 13:16) — and the denouement includes an exchange of treasure between the […]

Babylon and New Beginnings

Exploring Babylon Chapter 14 The Joseph Cycle, which closes out the Book of Genesis, has it all, in terms of story-telling: politics, sex, family drama, passages that touch on religious and cultural practices, plus a […]

Foreign Languages and Imagination

The brand new Koren Rav Kook Siddur presents commentary, not previously published in English — including this note on the Psalm 81 which sheds some light for #ExploringBabylon.

The Five Powers, part 3

A few notes on Rome — and on Micah’s “seven shepherds” — to round out the discussion of “Ma’oz Tzur.”

The Five Powers, part 2

Before Chanukah is too distant a memory, let’s look at the remaining powers, Persia and Rome, associated with the holiday and the piyyut that includes them all.

Wax and Wicks

Jews have laws and customs for so many ritual details: washing hands in the morning, donning a tallit [prayershawl], the order of blessings before and after a meal, preparing a household for Passover, etc., etc., […]

Chanukah and the Five Powers

Five foreign powers show up this week in the Jewish calendar. It’s worth examining each of these empires to see what light it sheds — on its own and in conjunction with the others.