Say Uncle for the High Holidays

I found the poetry collection, Say Uncle by Kay Ryan, at my local library and thought two of the pieces useful for the season of returning and repentance: “Failure 2” There could be nutrients in failure– deep amendments to the shallow soil of wishes. Think of the dark and bitter flavors of black ales and […]

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Ki Teitzei: Productive Erasing

Destruction – even of an evil, in ourselves, or in a relationship, with a brother or an enemy – is only half the task. The real God- imitating work is in destroying in order to rebuild something better in ourselves, in our relationships and in the wider world.

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Hatred of Haters and Turbulent Branching of Thoughts

Put an end to the hatred of haters those who have made me their foe Search me out with shovel and torchlight, God know my heart by means of compassion. Understand the turbulent branching of my thoughts. See the road that brings me sadness, and lead me instead on the path of eternal life. — […]

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Babylon and 929

Babylon — in fact, “The Three ‘Bavels’” — is featured this past week on the English portal for “929,” chapter-a-day study in the Hebrew Bible: The place name, בבל, bavel can refer to: Babel, Babylon, or Babylonia. Each of these ancient “Bavels” suggests a model for the 21st century…. The rise of Bavel/Babylonia was a […]

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Now What? Exploring Babylon Stage Two

I launched the “Exploring Babylon” project on this blog in October 2017. Stage One was to run for roughly 40 weeks, from Sukkot through Tisha B’av. WordPress statistics tell me that I’ve posted 40 times in the category, “Exploring Babylon,” although not entirely on the weekly schedule I’d originally planned, and Tisha B’av is fast […]

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Korach and Dysfunctional Systems

Why are Moses and Aaron, and God, unable to hear the people’s desperation and anger, in the face of completely failed expectations? And what is our job…How might better listening, and closer attention to circumstances behind complaints and rebellion, change things?

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A Song of Reward and Punishment

Exploring Babylon Chapter 22 Here is further response to a long-ago comment of Max Ticktin (z”l), based on the words of Jeremiah and in a sort of homage to Leonard Cohen. “Has this song gone on too long? A song of reward and punishment for exiles in Babylon and elsewhere” The theme repeats again and […]

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Notes on Jeremiah: Max Ticktin’s Scribbles

Exploring Babylon Chapter 21 Several updates below. In addition to the many other things he left us, Max Ticktin z”l (1920-2016) left behind a lot of books, and his family kindly offered them to interested community members. Some of the volumes I inherited this way are from a Tanakh that was re-bound, as a gift […]

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